Novato Dentist Discusses Gum Disease, Diabetes, and Overall Health Problems

Written by Dr. McConnell on Mar 8, 2016

The Novato Dentist wants you to be informed about the dangerous effects of gum disease – not just on your oral health, but on the ways in which it impacts your overall well-being.

Diabetes and gum disease are directly related. If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of contracting gum disease than someone that does not have diabetes. In reverse, if you have gum disease and diabetes, your blood sugar levels could be much more difficult to keep stable.

Advanced stages of periodontal disease have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, causing them to elevate. This means that your body has to work harder to handle the higher levels of blood sugar, making it difficult to avoid other serious complications as a result.

Heart Disease and Gum Disease

The American Academy of Periodontology has released findings stating that those patients with advanced stages of periodontal disease are at two times the risk of contracting heart disease than those without periodontal disease. It is important to note that the plaque on your teeth and in your arteries is not directly related.

The danger of contracting heart disease in conjunction with gum disease is due to the bacteria levels found in the blood of certain patients that directly correlates to the risk of clogged arteries in the neck, leading to the risk of heart attack or stroke.

In addition, patients with pre-existing heart conditions are at risk for serious complications while undergoing dental procedures to eliminate gum disease. In these cases, our dentist may prescribe antibiotics to be taken before and after the procedure in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Systemic Disease and Gum Disease

There are various diseases that are also directly related to periodontal disease including osteoporosis, respiratory diseases, and even cancer. 

Osteoporosis — This disease is directly related because of the risk of bone loss in the body. Oftentimes patients with osteoporosis also deal with bone loss in the mouth, causing them to lose teeth. Studies have found, however, that carefully controlling the gum disease can help to diminish the risk of bone loss in the jaw.

Respiratory Disease —  This is a serious issue for those patients fighting COPD or those with chronic pneumonia. If your lungs are not in perfect health, they can have a hard time fighting the germs brought in through inhalation, making it easy to suffer complications and breathing difficulties.

Cancer — Men have a 63 percent higher risk of contracting pancreatic cancer if they have gum disease. In addition, everyone is at a higher risk for kidney, lung and blood cancers, even non-smokers if they have gum disease.

Please contact our Novato Dentist office to arrange your next dental exam and cleaning.