How Periodontal Disease Affects Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease is a serious or chronic infection of the gums that commonly causes bleeding, swelling, redness, and tenderness. Bleeding in the gums in general is not normal unless there is a progression of disease. Although this is not always the case, it commonly is therefore any bleeding should be under the supervision of a dentist. If you notice any bleeding while flossing or brushing, there may be underlying factors and a check up with your dentist would be advisable. If untreated, halitosis or permanent bad breath may occur depending on the stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first step, which leads to a more destructive stage called Periodontal Disease. This stage of the disease causes receding gingiva and the destruction of surrounding bone. The surrounding bone and gingival is what holds your teeth in place and the destruction of the bone will lead to more increased complications. This will overtime cause movement (mobility) in your teeth. Eventually teeth may actually start falling out because of the bone loss that occurs during this process. While this is reason enough for you to see a dentist about periodontal disease treatments, there are actually more ways how the disease negatively impact your health, which are far worse than just losing a molar.

Hidden Dangers of Periodontal Disease

For years, doctors and dental hygienists have suspected a correlation between periodontal disease and other dangerous conditions. In particular, the bacteria that causes periodontal disease was thought to play some role in causing increased risk of developing a heart or lung disease. Recent studies and experiments have found that the actual inflammation of the gums could be causing serious inflammation complications in other parts of the body.

Serious conditions linked to periodontal disease include:

  • Diabetes: Periodontal disease symptoms appear to increase blood sugar. This can either cause diabetes if left untreated or exacerbate preexisting diabetes symptoms including increased infections. Healing is also delayed when treatment is needed to be completed orally.
  • Heart disease and stroke: The same bacteria that causes and thrives in the gums from periodontal disease appears to affect pathways throughout the body. While the exact correlation is unknown, there is ample evidence to show that people with periodontal disease are more susceptible to heart disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
  • Respiratory disease: Recent studies show that periodontal disease can increase the risk of respiratory problems, such as the infections of COPD and pneumonia. These infections are leading causes of death in the United States, and they are caused by the inhalation of upper throat bacteria making its way into the lower respiratory tract.
  • Osteoporosis of the jaw: Periodontal disease not only erodes the teeth at their base but also the jawbones beneath, ultimately causing osteoporosis of the jaw, or a loss of bone density. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased, which means the teeth no longer have a solid foundation.
  • Cancer: There is research that suggests that periodontal disease may increase the chance of kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers, perhaps as a side effect of the body needing to filter and destroy bacteria. Researchers found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.

[The American Academy of Periodontology has information and statistics on periodontal disease and relevant studies throughout its website:]

If you live in Southern California and are worried you may have periodontal disease, AG Dental Studio can help you. Our dentist office in Montrose is fully-equipped to handle all manners of dental hygienic needs, including treating and preventing gum disease before it worsens. Give us a call at 818.532.5565 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aznavour today.