Research has shown that periodontal disease is closely linked to your overall health. In fact, gum disease and other medical conditions often impact and exacerbate each other. Common conditions affected by gum disease include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease. Periodontal Disease and Diabetes Patients with pre-existing diabetic conditions are more likely to develop gum disease. Periodontal disease and diabetes contribute to each other, and one condition may cause the other to worsen. Gum disease increases blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control your glucose levels. Diabetes thickens your blood vessels, making it more difficult to remove excess sugar in the mouth. This creates a feeding ground for the bacteria which in turn cause gum disease. Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke Heart disease and stroke have also been linked to periodontal disease. There are several ways in which these conditions are linked. The bacteria which cause gum disease may attach themselves to coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This contributes to blood clot formation and narrows the arteries, which leads to a heart attack. Also, the inflammation caused by gum disease can cause plaque buildup, swelling the arteries and worsening pre-existing heart conditions. Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy Periodontal disease puts women at risk for delivering premature and underweight babies. Women experience frequent hormone fluctuations at various points in their lives, including during pregnancy. These hormonal fluctuations put them at greater risk for periodontal disease, which in turn puts them at greater risk for preeclampsia and premature and underweight babies. We recommend working closely with our dentist throughout your pregnancy to help maintain good oral health and keep your mouth free from gum disease. Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is a common bone disease, and occurs most frequently in post-menopausal women. This condition is characterized by low bone mass, bone fragility, and by a decrease in bone mineral density. One of the characteristics of periodontal disease is progressive bone and tissue loss. Individuals with osteoporosis are much more likely to develop gum disease and experience the resulting tissue loss in their supporting bone structure. Periodontal Disease and Respiratory Disease If you have periodontal disease, normal inhalation can cause the bacteria in your mouth to move into your lower respiratory tract. This can cause a bacterial infection in the lungs, which may aggravate persistent or chronic respiratory problems, and can contribute to the development of conditions such as pneumonia. Our dentist will work closely with your medical doctor to help you manage your health conditions and your gum disease so that you can once again enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Please call our office today for more information and to set up your appointment with our experienced dentist.