Did you know that disease of your gums can affect your bodily health? It may appear strange to some people. But it is an established fact. Periodontal disease can adversely affect vital parts of your body. It can increase the risk of diabetes, pregnancy complications, stroke, cancer, etc. Medical people call this Oral-Systemic effects.
Periodontal care comprises dental care to prevent various conditions of gum disease, and restorative treatment in case this disease does set in. Periodontal care is a specialized area of modern dentistry.
Why Does Gum Disease Affect General Health?
The link between gum disease and general health risks is now beyond doubt. But why this exists is not very clear. More than one theories exist to explain the link. It is possible that all are correct and a person may be affected by more than one of these routes.
The first step in the processing of food in the body is executed by the teeth. The teeth and gums go together because it is the gums which support the teeth in their sockets. If the gums are diseased, you cannot exert your teeth to chew and crush your food properly. As a result, the digestion process is no more efficient. Poor food intake and weakness results in an increased vulnerability to diseases of all kinds.
Another result of gum disease is that many people take only soft foods for fear of pain. That leaves the diet imbalanced and incomplete. People may even reduce their intake for the same reason. In their minds, food intake gets associated with pain, and they tend to avoid eating.
The Energy Gateway
Your mouth is the energy gateway to your body. Anything that you eat is initially processed here. The teeth chew and crush, the tongue turns the food over and positions it for proper crushing. As a result, that food necessarily comes in a through contact with the gums. Thus, the gums get all the chance to pass on their infection to the food. Now this food, after due processing by the stomach and the intestines, enters the bloodstream to supply all parts of your body.
An infected bloodstream can, in turn, infect other parts of your body (God forbid). The heart, the lungs, the brain, there is no exception. Indeed, the bacteria which cause gum disease, have been found in other parts of the bodies of patients harboring gum disease.
The Immune Reaction
Your body is one single unit, although a very complex one. A special feature of the human body is the auto-immunity. The system has the ability to react to a disease condition. An immediate reaction to a disease condition in any part of the body is the triggering of the immune system. The immune system is intelligent enough to identify the affected area and act there. But the entire body may be affected in response.
Some accompanied reactions in the body may take the form of increased blood flow, higher pulse rate than normal, rise of temperature (fever), uneasiness. But a most undesirable effect is that the immune system attacks not only the harmful germs but also healthy gum cells in the region.
Bacteria in Infected gums release harmful toxins which result in inflammation and detachment of gums from the teeth and bony sockets. Consequently, pockets are formed between the teeth and the gums which become safe havens for the bacteria where they form colonies and further deteriorate the gums. The immune system of the body reacts, and so doing, it also attacks the healthy cell around. As a result, gums and bone cells are also destroyed in the process, making the teeth mobile. If the condition is not corrected timely, it can lead to tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
It is clear now why the innocent looking gum disease can be lethal. At least it can detract from the quality of life. However, prevention of gum disease is easy. There are just two things to remember:
- Good Oral hygiene– This is the most important part of preventing all oral diseases and their consequences. Oral hygiene is advised by all dentists. Simply make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly, and you won’t have any major dental problem throughout life.
- Regular Dental Inspections– Regular dental visits will complement your personal efforts at oral health. You can only see your teeth and gums in a mirror, and only the front parts of them. If any disease forms up on hidden surfaces, only your dentist can see that. So, to ensure dental health and timely treatment, you must visit your dentist routinely.
So, now it has become clear that your oral health does have a direct effect on your overall health, therefore, if you want to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle you need to take good care of your oral hygiene. This is easily possible through meticulous oral hygiene maintenance, eating tooth friendly diet and regular dental checkup visits.
Best Wishes for a Long, Happy Life