Tooth decay and missing teeth can prevent proper chewing ability and thereby affect digestion of food, but gum diseases can result in much more serious effects on one’s general health. This article aims to educate about the effects of gum/dental health on general health.
Dental diseases can be broadly classified as tooth decay and gum disease and both of these diseases results from bacteria. Gum diseases are generally referred to as gingivitis and periodontitis. The term gingivitis means inflammation of the gums and periodontitis suggests inflammation and destruction of the structures which support the teeth including bone around teeth.
Gum disease and tooth decay have ill effects not only on the oral health but also are harmful to 'overall health'. Tooth decay and missing teeth can prevent proper chewing ability and thereby affect digestion of food, but gum diseases can result in much more serious effects on one’s general health.
Gum Disease and Overall Health
Gum disease can have negative impact on overall health of the body, but many people including many dentists and physicians still believe that its effects are limited only to the oral cavity. In recent years many researchers have shown that gum disease can contribute to and increase the risk and severity of:
How Does Gum Disease Affect Overall Health?
During gum disease various chemical mediators are released by our body in response to the bacterial infection. These chemical mediators are primarily intended to facilitate the process of removal of bacteria, but along with its primary function it can also do damage to our own body.
Cardiovascular Disease (heart disease):
The chemical mediators produced by our body during gum disease, along with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as smoking, high cholesterol etc. helps in the formation of atheroma(narrowing of blood vessels) in coronary artery (arteries which supply blood to the heart muscles). When the blood vessels get narrowed there is insufficient supply of blood to the heart muscles thereby it results in heart problem. If this narrowing occurs in the arteries of brain, it may result in Stroke.
The chemical mediators also have an effect on blood glucose level. In a known diabetic patients these mediators increase the cell resistance to insulin, thereby the glucose will not be utilized by the cells, which results in increased blood glucose level. Numerous studies have shown that after treating the gum disease the patients were able to keep their blood glucose level under control.
Preterm Low Birth Weight:
We all know that premature babies suffer from lot of diseases later in their life. Causes for premature delivery may be many, but can gum disease be one of the causes? Any infection in the body produces numerous chemical mediators in the body. Some of these chemical mediators such as prostaglandins, when secreted in excess can induce preterm labour. Gum disease being an infectious disease also increases the prostaglandins in the systemic circulation which may induce preterm labour.
Though very rare and very few studies support the relationship between gum disease and respiratory disease, it is possible when the bacteria present in mouth is aspirated in to the lungs, it can result in respiratory diseases like pneumonia.
Prevention & Treatment:
Early detection of the gum disease and thorough treatment can minimize the systemic effects of the gum disease. The treatment generally includes scaling and root debridement (cleaning of teeth and root portions of the teeth) and in severe conditions periodontal flap surgeries (gum surgeries) will be required. The earlier the detection of gum disease, the lesser the complications caused by it and simpler the treatment.
The common gum diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammatory stage of the lungs, whereas periodontitis is the severe stage of gingivitis, which occurs if the gingivitis is left untreated.
Gum diseases will give a dark red appearance to the gingiva. The gums might be swollen in some patients. In addition to this, there might be gingival bleeding in severe conditions. Sometimes, bleeding is initiated by brushing the teeth and biting hard foods.
Gum diseases are not permanent. If hereditary causes are the reason for the occurence of periodontal conditions, then you have the possibility of getting gum diseases again and again. Frequent cleaning of the oral cavity might be required in such patients. If the condition is severe, it can be treated well with periodontal surgery.
Yes, salt water is helpful in treating the gum infection. Salt water has the ability to heal the infections in the body. It can also help in reducing the microbial load drastically. The inflammatory conditions in the gums and throat can be treated well with salt water gargling.
The treatment for gum disease is decided according to the type of microorganism involved. If bacteria are the cause of gum disease, then appropriate antibiotics are prescribed. For mild cases, medication is the best treatment option. For severe cases, surgical management with periodontal surgery might be necessary.
Oil pulling plays a very good role in enhancing gingival health. The oils that are recommended for oil pulling are sesame oil and coconut oil. You can also perform a gentle massage to the gingiva to promote the health of the gums.
Rinsing with a solution of three percent hydrogen peroxide and water for 30 seconds can help in restoring the condition of receding gums. You should not drink this solution unknowingly. It is necessary to repeat this procedure three times a week.
Vitamin C and vitamin D are helpful in maintaining a healthy state of the gums. The overall health of the oral cavity is promoted by vitamin D. In addition to these vitamins, iron also plays a vital role in maintaining good oral health.
The condition of gingivitis usually takes up to two weeks to heal. In severe cases, gingivitis takes a long duration to heal. For faster recovery, you can consume antibiotics after getting recommendations from your doctor.
If gingivitis is left untreated, then it proceeds into a more severe form called periodontitis. It is possible to treat the condition easily in the gingivitis stage itself. If it proceeds to periodontitis, then the help of periodontal surgery procedures might be necessary.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It is seen along with inflammation with the gums. It is necessary to remove the plaque and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent the progression of the condition.
Yes, gum disease is reversible. With proper home remedies, gum diseases can be destroyed in the initial stages. Gingivitis is not a deadly condition, and it is easily reversible.
The usage of the following is recommended to cure the gums naturally.
- Aloe Vera.
- Green Tea.
- Oil Pulling.
- Hydrogen Peroxide.
- Turmeric Gel.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Yes, gum disease can be cured. Based on the severity of the condition, the disease can be treated. In some cases, scaling and root planing is sufficient to treat the gums. In other cases, medications might be necessary to heal the condition fully. You should visit your dentist to identify the severity of the condition.
Gum diseases can be treated by maintaining proper oral hygiene. It is necessary to brush your teeth twice a day. You have to floss your teeth regularly. Usage of mouthwashes is recommended once or twice a week. In addition to this, you have to go for a cleaning procedure in the dental setup.
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 2 min read
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