Why Gum Disease Could Kill You If Left Untreated.

Biting an appleHealth News – The Link between Gum Disease And Other Serious Illnesses Are Growing

Gum disease is very common affecting more than half of all adults with natural teeth. A dentist or hygienist can treat it and caught in the early stages the effects can be reversed. The two common types of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. You may not know that you have gum disease as it may not be painful and you may not have any symptoms initially. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and occurs when the gums become inflamed and bacteria begin to invade the gums. Usually the first signs are red and swollen gums and bleeding when you brush or floss. This can progresses into Periodontal Disease if left untreated and results in tooth decay, abscess and infection as well as tooth loss. The latest research also tells us that gum disease may be linked to many of the medical conditions outlined below.

Gum Disease & Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the greatest cancer risk for people with gum disease. A Harvard University School of Public Health study (findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute) found a link between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer. People with gum disease have increased levels of nitrosamines and gastric acidity which are all cancer-promoting agents. Scientists postulate that this response increases the number of carcinogens in the pancreas, promoting pancreatic cancer by about 54% in patients of gum disease as compared to people with healthy gums. One theory is the bacteria could lead to cancer by causing body-wide inflammation, weakening the body’s immune system, or directly activating pancreatic tumor signaling pathways. These findings were posted online in the journal of Carcinogenesis and originally reported by LiveScience.

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

 Experts in periodontology and cardiology also propose a possible dental health link to atherosclerosis, which causes heart disease. There are several theories and one of which is that some oral bacteria appear to secrete a sticky protein, which can attach to pre-existing fatty deposits in coronary arteries (those that supply Gum disease warning messageblood to the heart). This leads to inflammation, which may cause blood clots that can decrease blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.

A new study by researchers at the Swedish Uppsala University found that tooth loss and gum disease raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The research team determined that missing teeth increased the enzyme levels of a specific enzyme which raised the risk of inflammation and hardening in the arteries. The risk increased for every missing tooth and people with fewer teeth also had an increased risk of diabetes. Each missing tooth made the person 11 % more likely to develop diabetes.

Gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

 There is a growing body of evidence that suggests an association between poor oral health and dementia. Researchers in the UK examined the brains of ten deceased dementia patients and found signs of the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is responsible for unhealthy gums. This research adds to previous findings that Alzheimer’s disease may be linked to poor oral health. This bacterium is associated with chronic gum disease and enters the bloodstream through eating, chewing and brushing teeth and following invasive dental treatment. Scientists believe when the bacteria reach the brain it triggers an immune response that leads to the death of neurons and this increases the risk of cognitive dysfunction.

Gum Disease & Diabetes

There is emerging evidence to support the existence of a two-way relationship between diabetes and gum disease with diabetes increasing the risk for periodontitis, and periodontal inflammation negatively affecting blood sugar control. Diabetes UK, estimate that 1 in 3 diabetics suffer from periodontitis at some stage of their disease. Top experts in dental and diabetes research from around the world have found that individuals suffering from gum disease may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes; and women that are pregnant –gestational diabetes, and have higher long-term blood sugar levels (A1c). And the way blood sugar levels are increased may be by the same mechanism as in Alzheimer’s disease where the bacteria release powerful chemicals that hinder cellular function.

Preventing and Treating Gum Disease

You can prevent gum disease by controlling the amount of plaque and tartar that builds up on your teeth:

1  Brushing your teeth two or three times daily and replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles become frayed.smiling woman cleaning teeth with toothbrush

2  Dental floss or inter-dental brushes are the best way to remove plaque and small bits of food from between your teeth.

3  Visit the dentist or hygienist regularly.

4  Pay special attention to oral hygiene if you’re taking medications, as some which cause dry mouth can increase the risk of gum disease.

5  Stop smoking.

6  Eat less sugar.

Healthy Living Tips – Supplements that keep gums healthy

-Vitamin C is particularly important for bleeding gums. It helps with collagen building, which helps the gums stay plump and healthy.

-Coenzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol  has shown promise in some preliminary studies on heart health and gum disease.

-B complex and a high strength antioxidant formula also containing vitamin A and D will help keep oral mucosa in the mouth healthy.

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