Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an infection of the gum tissue that causes inflammation. Left unresolved the infection can advance deeper into the gums and tax the immune system. It is primarily caused by an excess buildup of bacteria and tartar, but there can also be other factors involved.
New research has found a relationship between the systemic inflammation caused by periodontal disease and other serious health conditions. Please note, that gum disease has not been found to cause other diseases or conditions, merely that they seem to happen more frequently together.
Diabetics or people with otherwise uncontrolled blood sugar have a higher occurrence of gum disease. Also, when these individuals do develop gum disease it tends to advance faster. It’s speculated that diabetes can tax the immune system making it harder for the body to fight infection. This makes it easier for bacteria to develop a foothold in the gum tissue.
Gum disease also seems to have a relationship with certain types of heart disease. However, this could also be related to the lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and poor diet.
New research has found that middle age males with gum disease were more likely to develop kidney, and pancreatic cancer as well as certain types of blood cancers.
As time goes on research continues to shed new light on the relationship between gum disease, systemic inflammation and overall health continues. You can reduce the chances of developing gum disease by brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist for regular dental cleanings.