Cancer, Chronic Illness and Periodontal Disease

Stages of Periodontal disease

Gum disease is a condition that damages the soft tissue in your mouth. Without treatment, you can lose your teeth. Periodontitis doesn’t just affect your teeth. The same bacteria that causes gum disease can impact other parts of your body and increase the risk of cancer. Here’s what to know about gum disease and chronic conditions.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

The most common symptom of gum disease is gums that bleed easily, such as when you’re brushing or flossing. You may also experience bad breath or have problems chewing because of tooth loss or loose teeth. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist for an exam and treatment plan.

Gum Disease and Chronic Conditions

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) reports that many chronic conditions are linked to periodontal disease. There is still much research that needs to be done to fully understand how gum disease is linked to chronic illness, but the studies do show that people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without diabetes. Gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar, which causes a higher risk of diabetic complications. The CDC also released a review in 2019 of studies that linked gum disease to chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.  

Gum Disease and Cancer

Researchers have also looked at the association between gum disease and cancer. One study found that people with a history of periodontitis have a higher risk of developing esophageal and gastric cancer. It’s suggested that periodontal disease causes inflammation in the gums, which increases systemic inflammation in the body, contributing to future health problems. Another theory is that oral bacteria can impact the rest of the body. While more research is needed to completely understand the link between gum disease and other conditions, there is no doubt that gum disease can affect your overall health. The AAP also reported that men with gum disease were more likely to develop kidney and pancreatic cancers

Prevent Gum Disease

Fortunately, periodontitis is largely preventable with good oral care. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and making sure you get regular dental care can reduce your risk of gum disease. If your gum disease is more pronounced, our dental practice can help you find solutions for healing.  Make an appointment with a dentist at HollowBrook Dental in Colorado Springs to take care of your smile and maintain your oral health.
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