Dental health is not always thought of as an indicator whether or not someone is a healthy person overall. The more studies done, regarding the varied effects of periodontal disease however, the more it seems unhealthy teeth and gums contribute to other issues in your body. Cardiovascular issues, erectile dysfunction, preterm pregnancy, oral cancer, and obesity have all been linked in studies to periodontitis. While none of the studies indicating these links have conclusively proven periodontal disease, or periodontitis, cause these issues, it certainly serves as good motivation to take good care of your teeth.
Gum disease, and the more severe periodontitis, is first and foremost an inflammatory issue. Bacteria present in the teeth and gums, cause swelling, and that bacteria then travels to the rest of your body, causing widespread inflammation. Inflammation can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular labor. High blood pressure, circulatory issues, and cardiovascular disease, have all been linked to periodontal disease.
Erectile dysfunction has been linked to periodontal disease in a recent study titled “Is There a Relationship Between Chronic Periodontitis and Erectile Dysfunction?” by scientists at Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey. The study revealed that “[chronic periodontitis] had a high association with ED in young adults at 30–40 years.” This again is an issue of inflammation. unsurprisingly, most men who suffer from ED, also suffer from some cardiovascular, or inflammation issues.
Recently, several studies have set out to prove the link between periodontal disease and preterm birth. Most studies suggest a connection between women with untreated periodontal disease, and preterm delivery. Untreated periodontal disease has also been linked to low birth weight.
A study done by Mine Tezal, DDS, PhD, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, indicated a link between periodontal disease and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), or oral cancer. Patients with oral cancer had a higher instance of tooth loss, dental caries, and other periodontal disease related symptoms, compared to those who didn’t suffer from oral cancer. While more research needs to be done before any conclusions can be drawn, the study certainly serves as an eye-opener.
The connection between obesity and periodontal disease makes sense. Both ailments can be the result of a poor diet. The link appears to be more complicated than that however. An article entitled “Obesity, Inflammation and Oral Infections: are microRNAs the Missing Link?” was written by Francesco D’Aiuto and Jean Suvan, from the University College London Eastman Dental Institute. The article attempts to explain the relationship between obesity and periodontal disease.
None of these health problems are caused by periodontal disease exclusively. No amount of studies would ever be able to prove that. It is interesting to note that periodontal disease does seem to be an indicator of overall poor health. So brush, floss, and visit your dentist, like Dentist in Hillsdale, Oregon Dr. Beadnell, often, if you want to keep your teeth, and body health.