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Your health is impacted by your oral health as much as your teeth and gums are. The American Dental Association has found that individuals with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition too. When bacteria in the mouth builds up and causes infection, your immune system goes on the attack to fight the infection, inflaming the gums, and the inflammation remains until the infection is controlled. Over time, this inflammation and the byproducts it throws out eat at the gums and bones supporting your teeth. By then you have periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. Additionally, bacteria in the mouth from bits of food particles between the teeth emit chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, which smell bad.

Besides periodontitis and halitosis, gum inflammation can also affect the body in other ways:

Heart disease: up to 91% of patients who have heart disease also have periodontitis. Both can be caused by smoking, being overweight, and an unhealthy diet. Inflammation in the mouth can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, traveling to the arteries in the heart and causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Low birth weight babies: infection and inflammation interfere with a fetus’ development during a woman’s pregnancy and can raise the levels of chemicals called prostaglandins, which may induce labor.

 Diabetes: inflammation starting in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to use insulin, and high blood pressure causes infections to grow, like gum infections.

Obesity: periodontitis seems to increase in a person with higher body fat, in fact, a study recently found that overweight people had double the occurrence of periodontitis, while obese people had triple the incidence.

Respiratory disease: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia are both made worse by periodontitis, and it is thought that might be the increase of bacteria in the lungs.

Dementia: bacteria from gingivitis can travel to the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head and lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking care of your mouth supports your overall health and not just your teeth and gums. Brushing, flossing, rinsing with a mouthwash to kill bacteria along with regular dental cleanings ward off the ravages of periodontal disease.

We invite you to call our office to schedule a visit with our dentist for a checkup if you have any concerns.  Our Fox River Periodontics, PC team in Geneva, Illinois is just a phone call away at 630-232-7400!