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If you know you’ve been placing your oral hygiene to the bottom of your priority list then it’s essential that you continue reading. Many are not aware of the dangerous impacts poor oral health can have on general health and vice versa. A large percentage even thinks that the red spots they see in their sink are ‘normal’. Due to relatively recent scientific studies, five major links between gum disease and general health conditions have been noted:

Gum Disease: The Link to Common Health Conditions

Diabetes

Diabetic sufferers are naturally more prone to contract infections, due to the increase in blood sugar levels. However, poor control of the condition often results in severe periodontal disease according to new research.

For example, skipping insulin injections for whatever reason has been proven to contribute to chronic hyperglycaemia. The constant increase in blood sugar levels has now been linked with inflammatory responses of the body, which destroys soft tissue therefore increasing the risk of gum disease.

The destruction of the gum tissue means that areas inside the mouth are exposed and are more likely to be attacked by bacteria. The bacterium that infects the area is able to multiply within the bloodstream and clog up arteries leading to other serious health concerns.

Gum disease is now classed as a ‘complication’ of diabetes and more research is being undertaken in how good oral health can lower blood sugar levels, therefore reducing the risk of infection.

Heart Disease

The link between poor oral health and an increased risk in cardiovascular disease is one that is still being debated. Simply put, the risk of heart attack comes from the plaque forming bacterium, Streptococcus.

The bacteria deposit proteins known as PadA in the platelets (found within the bloodstream), which then clot together. It is this suspected clotting that has doubled the risk of gum disease suffers to contract heart disease. The clotting is very dangerous as it means that the blood supply is cut off or limited.

Alzheimer’s

The known link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease is extremely complicated and is still being argued. Scientific studies have suggested that those who have periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from cerebrovascular disease (infection of the blood supply to the brain).

After issuing a number of tests to 152 elderly folk over the ages of 70, it was noted that a large proportion of them were experiencing poorer cognitive function. The majority that experienced low digital symbol test scores were in fact the sufferers of periodontal disease. Dr. Angela Kramer undertook this study in 2010.

Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease was linked with gum disease because of 2008 studies, undertaken in the US. The study suggested that those who had periodontal disease were twice as likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease.

Furthermore, other studies suggest that those who had completed dialysis were also twice as likely to suffer from gum disease. As gum disease is more likely to develop in patients needing kidney replacements, systematic inflammation is increased (due to protein molecules known as cytokines), which then increases the risk of kidney transplant rejection.

Premature Births

The exact mechanisms that cause the link between premature births (or babies born with lower weights) and gum disease is still being researched into.

Studies show that toxic chemicals are excreted into the mother’s bloodstream by means of gum disease infection and somehow find their way into the placenta containing the baby. The risk of systematic inflammation chemicals is dramatically increased, which are similar to those used in the abortion process.

Gum disease is becoming a great concern in more developed countries recently, with the US and UK containing thousands of periodontal disease sufferers. It would be ideal to visit your local dentist and hygienist regularly to ensure oral hygiene is at it’s best. Even if you suspect nothing is wrong with your gums/teeth, it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Author Bio

Hello! My name is Micheala and I am a freelance writer. I currently specialise in writing articles regarding dental health matters. A particular focus of mine at the moment is dental implants and how they can greatly improve oral health. I enjoy writing about the links between poor oral health and general health. I also write articles and blogs on brace treatments and cosmetic dental surgery. Please see http://www.liverpoolimplants.co.uk/ for more information.

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Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of DentalPlanCards.com. He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +