Gum disease is one of those health conditions that doesn't stop at causing gum problems. It can lead to a number of other health conditions and diseases.
That's why we always encourage our patients to come in if they believe they're dealing with gum disease, no matter how minor it may seem.
It's a condition that you want to deal with as soon as possible so that it doesn't lead to anything else. Here are a few of these other diseases that gum disease can cause or can make worse.
Diabetes and gum disease often create a vicious loop. Gum disease can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar levels under control. That, in turn, leads to pre-diabetes or diabetes itself. Having diabetes does make your body's defenses weaker, making it easier to develop gum disease. Often, a patient who has diabetes will fight off gingivitis over and over, and during bad cases of gum disease, their blood sugar becomes a little harder to control.
Gum disease can also affect the heart and lead to an increase risk of heart disease. When bacteria get into the gums, they can also travel through the bloodstream to the heart. There, they can cause inflammation and do other damage, increasing the risk of heart disease. Heart disease and gum disease also have some of the same risk factors, including being overweight and smoking.
A number of studies have shown that those who suffer from gum disease are also more at risk for cancer, but this link isn't clear yet. Researchers believe that, like heart disease, the connection may have to do with inflammation.
Overall, doctors have determined that there are over 120 different health conditions that can be linked to gum disease. Gum disease may not always cause these conditions, but it can often make them worse or cause them to develop earlier than they might otherwise.
That's why it's important you visit us regularly so we can catch gum disease early and start treating it. If you don't have a regular checkup scheduled, give us a call so we can get you in.