‘It’s just about my teeth, right?’
In recent years, an ever increasing body of scientific evidence is emerging which indicates why we need to take gum disease much more seriously than would have been the case years ago. In the old days, all we knew about was the likelihood of losing teeth prematurely and the difficulties of providing successfull replacement for those missing teeth.
Now, we know that gum disease has an impact much greater than the old thinking would indicate.
Here’s why (in very simple terms).
Gum disease is one of a family of diseases called inflammatory diseases. Basically, this means that the body tries to fight the disease by flooding the affected area with white blood cells. The white blood cells have a role in fighting off infections and they do this by releasing toxins into the area affected in an effort to kill off the attacking bacteria or viruses in a kind of nuclear war. Unfortunately, in wars, it’s not just the soldiers who suffer. Likewise here. The toxins also destroy normal tissues (bone, gum cells, blood vessel walls etc) and the damage may be permanent if the war goes on for long enough without a ceasefire.
And just like the nuclear war scenario, toxins and bacteria get into the bloodstream (through the damaged blood vessel walls) and get carried around the body where they can continue to do damage in other areas. For instance, bacteria may travel to the arteries in your heart, where they may trigger a cycle of inflammation and arterial narrowing that contributes to heart attacks. But that’s not all! Other body systems are just as vulnerable.
Some complications associated with gum disease include:
- Tooth loss
- Coronary artery disease
- Premature, low birth weight babies
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Respiratory problems
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lung disease
This is why we are taking gum disease so seriously. It’s no longer about losing teeth. Now it’s about the general health effects.
When we recommend treatment to control your gum disease and the inflammation associated with it, we are fighting the effects that may put you at increased risk of developing or failing to control one of the diseases above.
That’s a pretty big ‘So what’.