Love your gums!
Gums diseases are very common particularly periodontitis which affects almost 1 out of every 2 adults over 45 and almost 85% of all those over 65 years of age. It is the leading cause for toothloss in many parts of the world.
Gum treatment strategies have the highest success rate in the early stages of the disease process. Unfortunately, gum diseases on the whole are painless and only present when acute infections occur or when teeth drift or become loose. Therefore, early management will lead to retaining teeth longer, but this is not the entire story. Preventing and treating periodontitis will help you lead a healthier life.
There is a dearth of scientific literature supporting treatment of gum diseases not just for maintaining teeth but for better general health. Most of the studies investigated the effect of gum disease on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and pregnancy outcomes.
The diabetes studies show that:
• Diabetic patients with severe periodontitis have higher blood sugar levels (measured by a test called HbA1c), compared to those with healthier gums
• Even if you don’t have diabetes, your body’s control of blood sugar levels is not as good as it should be when you have severe periodontitis
• The more advanced the gum disease, the more likely a diabetic person will suffer damage to other organs in their body because of their diabetes – for example, heart or kidney disease
• Severe periodontitis might actually increase your chance of getting type 2 diabetes
Epidemiological and interventional studies have also demonstrated that having periodontitis increases the risk of having an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease critical event such as a stroke or a heart attack. Gum treatment has been shown to lower risk factors for these critical events making them less likely to occur.
Premature birth, low birth weight and pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy) were shown to be slightly more likely in pregnant patients with severe periodontitis.
These links between periodontitis and serious medical conditions may be hard to believe but international research efforts have provided the following theories to explain these links.
Love your gums and your gums will love you back!