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Why Gum Disease Is a Risk to Your Whole Body

Gum disease is thought to be tied to a host of other diseases. It's been linked to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and even kidney disease. With problems like these tied to your gums, it's more important than ever to take care of them. Here's what you need to know about these seemingly-arbitrary links between diseases and how you can protect yourself from them.


The root cause behind a great deal of the problems caused by gum disease is the bacteria responsible for it. You don't just get gum disease due to poor oral hygiene. What's really happening is that poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to thrive, which in turn attacks the gums. This creates an infection and allows the bacteria to access your bloodstream.

Once the bacteria reaches the bloodstream, it really causes a problem. Bacteria don't just stop attacking because they're no longer around the gums. They like any kind of healthy tissue, including the stuff deep inside your body. So as they travel through the blood, they may physically attack the cells of your kidneys, heart, arteries, and even brain. This can cause cell death and damage.


Another big problem caused by gum disease that can trigger these other issues is inflammation. Sometimes bacteria's mere presence can increase inflammatory responses as it's a foreign body. However, inflammation often spreads once it develops in one area of the body. While this isn't as much of a factor for the link between gum disease and both heart and kidney disease, severe inflammation in the gums can potentially physically spread to the brain. Even low-grade inflammation can cause a lot of damage over a long period of time, and unfortunately, many people with gum disease go for long periods of time before seeking treatment.

Protecting Yourself

There are two main things you can do to protect yourself here: go to a dentist and make a commitment to see them more often. Periodontists are experts at treating gum disease and can do a lot to reverse it. They're who you need to see if you have gum disease that's more severe than gingivitis, though they're great at treating all stages of the disease. If you frequently struggle with gum disease, it might be a good idea to set up regular appointments with your periodontist. They can help to monitor your gums and treat them in the early stages should they develop gum disease again.

Gum disease is nothing to mess with. Get the help you need and protect your whole body in the process.