Gum Disease and Our Bodies

To many people, gum disease is an unpleasant but common condition. However, not many people know that gum disease is linked to seemingly unrelated health problems. Dr. Ben Kacos, the best dentist in Shreveport, LA, calls this the “oral-systemic connection.” He shares some of the health conditions that new research links to oral health problems and the connection between gum disease and our bodies.

Gum Disease and Your Brain

You may be aware that your brain is physically located close to your teeth, but it isn’t so easy to link gum disease to neurological conditions. You may be surprised to learn that a number of studies have drawn a link between gum disease and tooth loss to cognitive function.

For instance, one study spanning over 32 years followed 597 men. The researchers concluded that as more teeth are lost, older men face a heightened risk of cognitive decline. How can this be?

Other studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease have beta-amyloid, a protein that has been found to develop due to the body’s response to a pathogen, in their brains. And the surprising thing? Shreveport’s dentist explains that the bacteria responsible for gum disease is the predominant culprit behind the buildup of beta-amyloid. So, that gum disease you have been paying little attention to could be setting you up for Alzheimer’s.

Gum Disease and Heart Health

Dr. Ben Kacos asserts that not everyone with heart disease suffers from gum disease. As follows, not everyone with gum disease develops heart disease. However, research is revealing that the two might be connected.

For example, researchers have consistently found a bacteria called P.gingivalis in the coronary artery. We asked our good friend, Dr. Green, Parker CO dentist, to explain what this can lead to. He explains that this same species of bacteria cause periodontitis. It is, therefore, possible that the presence of this variety of pathogens in the coronary artery can trigger inflammation. This can eventually cause heart disease.

When you have gum disease and don’t get it treated promptly by Dr. Ben Kacos, 71105 dentist, bacteria can travel through your bloodstream. Unfortunately, this can wind up in your heart and the surrounding vessels. Heart disease can quickly follow, with some conditions being fatal.

Increased Cancer Risk

Never in your wildest dreams have you thought that gum disease could have a role to play in your risk of developing cancer, but research proves otherwise. A 2008 study concludes that there is a small, yet significant link between periodontal disease and the risk of developing cancer.

Other scientific papers show that this link may be due to the enzymes produced by the bacteria, which cause gum disease, also playing a role in the onset of cancer since those same enzymes have been found in gastrointestinal tumors.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction affects millions of men, and it can be caused by a variety of physiological and psychological factors. Now according to some researchers, this condition may have its roots in periodontal disease.

For example, the authors of a 2016 literature review say there is a link between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction.  The team goes as far as recommending that doctors should refer to erectile dysfunction patients to dentists so that they can undergo a comprehensive oral exam and get appropriate treatment.

Inflammation may explain why erectile dysfunction can result when periodontitis goes untreated for long. The best dentist in Shreveport, LA, explains that if you developed inflammation in your mouth due to gum disease, chemical messengers in your blood could spread this inflammation to other regions of your body, such as the smooth muscles surrounding the male genitalia. As a result of such inflammation, vasodilation may be impeded, and erectile dysfunction will result. 

However, there is no conclusive evidence for this link, and more studies are ongoing to understand how exactly oral health problems (gum disease specifically) impact male sexual function.

Gum Disease and Your Lungs

The mouth is a gateway to both the gums and your lungs. This, therefore, makes it easier for you to grasp the link between gum disease and lung problems. 

Dentists in Shreveport, LA say that one-way gum disease can compromise the health of the lungs is through bacteria in the mouth, finding their way into your lungs while you breathe. A February 2019 study of 1,380 men confirms that there is a strong link between chronic periodontal disease and compromised respiratory function.

The underlying message is that it is important for you to be on top of your at-home dental hygiene habits. There is a definite correlation between gum disease and our bodies. Additionally, you should visit Shreveport’s dentist regularly for comprehensive dental exams and professional cleanings. Dr. Ben Kacos is here to help you with your oral and overall health. If you suspect you or a loved one may be having periodontal disease, contact Shreveport’s dentist for a consultation.


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