Your Health and Periodontal Disease

Respiratory Disease Linked to Periodontal Disease

If you have periodonal disease, you may be at risk for respiratory disease.

For a long time we've known that people who smoke, are elderly, or have other health problems that suppress the immune system, are at increased risk for the development of respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Now, growing research is beginning to suggest a new risk factor-periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, you may be at increased risk for respiratory infection.

If you are at risk for respiratory disease or periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation -- because healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.

Pregnancy Risks from Periodontal Disease

If you have periodontal disease and are pregnant, you may be at risk for having a premature, low birthweight baby.

For a long time we've known that many risk factors contribute to mothers having babies that are born prematurely at a low birthweight: smoking, alcohol use, drug use and infections.

Now evidence is mounting that suggests a new risk factor -- periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.

More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. What we do know is that periodontal disease is an infection and all infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby.

If you are planning to become pregnant or are at risk for periodontal disease, be sure to include a periodontal evaluation with a periodontist as part of your prenatal care -- because healthy gums may lead both to a healthier body and a healthy baby.

The Interrelationship Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

There's a two-way relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes.

For years we've known that people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes.

Recently, research has emerged suggesting that the relationship goes both ways -- periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

More research is needed to confirm how periodintal disease makes it more difficult to control blood sugar. What we do know is that severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when your body functions with a high blood sugar. And, as a diabetic, you know that this puts you at increased risk for diabetic complications.

In other words, controlling your periodontal disease may help you control your diabetes.

If you are among the nearly 16 million Americans in the U.S. who live with diabetes, or are at risk for periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation-because healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.

The Increased Risk of Heart Disease with Periodontal Disease

If you have periodontal disease, you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease.

For a long time we've known that bacteria may affect the heart. Now evidence is mounting that suggests people with periodontal disease (which is caused by a bacterial infection) may be more at risk for heart disease, and have nearly twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack, than patients without periodontal disease.

While more research is needed to confirm how periodontal bacteria may affect your heart, one possibility is that periodontal bacteria enter the blood through inflamed gums and cause small blood clots that contribute to clogged arteries. Another possibility is that inflammation caused by periodontal disease contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits deep inside heart arteries.

One out of every 5 Americans has one or more types of heart disease. If you are one of these Americans, or if you are at risk for periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation -- because healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.

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2015