Those who have pre-existing diabetes are more likely to have or be susceptible to gum diseases. Periodontal disease can have the effect of increasing blood sugar levels, making controlling glucose levels in the blood difficult. This can raise the likelihood of complications that are serious. At the same time, diabetes can thicken blood vessels, making it harder for the mouth to get rid of excess sugar; excess sugar in the mouth is a breeding ground for gum disease-causing bacteria.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Several studies link heart disease with gum disease. One such study poses the theory that oral bacteria strains exacerbating periodontal disease also attach themselves to coronary arteries when entering the bloodstream. This then causes both blood clot formation and the narrowing of the arteries, possibly leading to a heart attack. A second theory suggests that the inflammation of periodontal disease can cause a significant plaque build up that swells the arteries and worsens pre-existing heart conditions.
Women have an increased risk of gum disease due to the hormonal fluctuations occurring during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are at special risk for preeclampsia development and the delivery of underweight or premature babies. Gum disease increases the levels of prostaglandin, which is one of the labor-inducing chemicals. Elevated levels of prostaglandin may trigger premature labor. Periodontal disease also elevates proteins, which have previously been linked to heart disease. This can amplify the inflammatory response of the body and increase the chances of preeclampsia and high-risk pregnancy complications.
Postmenopausal women often need to worry about osteoporosis, a common metabolic bone disease. The characteristics of this disease include bone fragility, a decrease in bone mineral density, and low bone mass. There have been studies linking osteoporosis to periodontal disease. Women with osteoporosis are more likely to develop gum disease. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, estrogen deficiency is often a problem occurring with menopause, and this speeds up the progression of oral bone loss. A lack of estrogen also appears to lead to the destruction of the fibers and tissues keeping the teeth stable. The second reason for this is low mineral bone density. This is one of many causes of osteoporosis, and the inflammation caused by periodontal disease can make weakened bones even more prone to breaking down.
For those suffering from emphysema, pneumonia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), oral bacteria linked to gum disease can worsen these conditions. It can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract and create colonize, creating bacterial infections in the lungs. Repeated infections characterizing COPD may be linked to periodontitis. Additionally, inflammation in gum tissues can lead to a severe inflammation of lung lining, aggravating pneumonia. Those individuals suffering from chronic or persistent respiratory issues tend to have problems with low immunity. This means that it is easy for bacteria to colonize beneath the gum line and remain relatively unchallenged by your body’s immune system.