The Unanticipated Consequences Of Gum Disease

img AD Ratings imgJuly 3, 2019




The latest research suggests that gum disease, a common and discomforting disease, is so much more than just that. Mounting evidence points to the many unrelated health problems caused by gum disease bacteria. Maintaining your oral health is, therefore, not only vital for your oral health but also general health.

If you don’t brush your teeth properly, a sticky substance containing bacteria—plaque—will build up on your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque will irritate your gums, which may swell, become sore, or get infected, leading to gingivitis or gum disease, which may cause other severe medical conditions in the body.

Typically, maintaining proper dental hygiene will keep gum disease at bay. In instances of neglect, however, gum disease will develop into periodontitis, which can significantly debilitate the supporting dental structures of your teeth.

Gum disease or periodontal disease is predominant, especially in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that almost half the number of adults in the US are diagnosed with some degree of gum disease.

Periodontal disease is reasonably well-understood. New research is showing how it can cause other diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, and respiratory ailments. Read on to know how such diseases have a link with gum disease.

The Brain And Gums

We usually don’t associate dental problems and neurological symptoms with each other even though spatially, the gums, and the brain are nearby. Surprisingly though, a few studies link periodontal disease, tooth loss, and loss of cognitive function credibly.

A study that analyzed the cognitive behavior of 587 men over 32 years found that the presence of caries, age, and loss of cognitive function was directly proportional. In the words of the authors of the study, “Risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. Periodontal disease and caries, major reasons for tooth loss, are related to cognitive decline,” reported Medical News Today.

Another study found a link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s by illustrating the increase in detection of a neurological hallmark beta-amyloid in the brain and the increase in dental plaque. An experiment also found Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria, which is generally found in periodontitis patients, in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

A new study analyzed the results of experiment. It observed how the P. gingivalis bacteria lead to an increase in the production of Alzheimer’s causing beta-amyloid in the brain.

The researches primarily observed the gingipain enzyme produced by the P. gingivalis bacteria and found that this proteinase was toxic to the tau protein, which caused tau tangles that leads to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Moreover, there’s a shift in perception of Alzheimer’s. Many researchers now believe that the beta-amyloid marker is produced as a response to a pathogen. This may lead to newer medication that targets pathogens explicitly like the gingipain enzyme secreting P. gingivalis. In fact, a gingipain inhibitor has been designed to help stop the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s patients. The medicine is awaiting human trials.

This inhibitor is expected to, “slow or prevent further neurodegeneration and accumulation of pathology in [Alzheimer’s disease] patients,” as per the study.

The Heart And Gums

There’s a palpable link between heart disease and gum disease as many patients of cardiovascular ailments also seem to suffer from gum disease.

We already know that people who smoke a lot and drink copious amounts of alcohol regularly are more likely to develop cardiovascular as well as oral diseases. There are many other shared and independent risk factors that show how the two unlikely diseases are interlinked.

A popular theory among the research community is inflammation. Inflammation is caused by the body’s protective mechanism when irritants or pathogens attack it. If inflammation persists for an extended period, it damages tissues and organs instead of protecting them. As gingivitis bacteria cause inflammation, it is possible that it could also kick-start a chain reaction that causes inflammation in the cardiovascular system.

Another popular theory is bacteria. Bacteria can cause inflammation and damage any organ, including the heart, by entering the bloodstream. In fact, researchers have found many bacterial strains, most significantly P. gingivalis, in the coronary artery. Based on that evidence, the researchers inferred that bacteria could enter the blood supply through the gums and cause inflammation and damage to the heart.

Cancer Risk And Gum Disease

Cancer and gum disease seem entirely unrelated, but recent evidence shows otherwise. A 2008 study, which analyzed tooth loss and cancer in 48,375 men, found that cancer and gum disease have a minute connection. The researchers of the study noted, “Periodontal disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk,” reported Medical News Today.

A more recent study analyzed more than 68,000 adults and found a significant link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. In a paper published in Nature, the researchers state that they found the Treponema denticola bacterial enzyme in certain gastrointestinal tumors. Treponema denticola bacteria secrete the T. denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase enzyme, which penetrates the protective gum tissue, thereby causing gum disease. According to the researchers of the study, the T. denticola proteinase also activated other cancer cell growth- accelerant enzymes after penetrating healthy tissue.

Erectile Dysfunction And Gum Disease

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) affects an estimated 50 percent of the male population over forty. It’s a condition that has physiological as well as psychological causes.

Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, hypertension, and stress is known to cause ED. Surprisingly; periodontal disease can also enhance the risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

A 2016 literature review identified a link between erectile dysfunction and chronic periodontitis going as far as suggesting, “Physicians should refer patients with [erectile dysfunction] to oral healthcare providers for a comprehensive oral evaluation and treatment,” reported Medical News Today.

Erectile dysfunction and gum disease share common risk factors such as smoking, drinking, and diabetes. So it is not currently possible to determine whether gum disease is an independent risk factor for men developing ED.

Sexual dysfunction and gum health, however, have some connection. Inflammation caused by periodontal disease-causing bacteria can quickly spread across the body via the bloodstream.

Erectile dysfunction is mainly caused by endothelial dysfunction: when the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels don’t relax. This causes the smooth muscles lining the walls of blood vessels to lose control over vascular function, which prevents regular vasodilation in the penis. This vasodilation is what sustains an erection. The pro-inflammatory state caused by periodontal disease-causing bacteria leads to a higher incidence of endothelial dysfunction, which enhances the risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

However, the authors of the 2016 literature review mentioned stated that more large-scale studies would be required to confirm the link between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease conclusively.

 The Lungs and Gums

Lungs and the mouth are directly linked to each other via the respiratory system. So, it’s not surprising that gum disease can lead to lung disease.

A 2019 study analyzed the medical records of 1,380 men and found that those who suffered from chronic periodontitis also experienced a reduction in normal respiratory function. The link was present after controlling factors such as smoking.

Inflammation could connect the two. Naturally, if the trachea and the bronchial tubes in the lungs are inflamed, the air you breathe will pass through narrower pathways, which would automatically restrict the required airflow into your respiratory system.

Simultaneously, inflammation-causing oral bacteria will be breathed into the lungs. Infection-causing bacteria tend to cause infection anywhere, so they could definitely trigger lung infection that directly leads to inflammation.

In fact, a recent meta-analysis investigating the potential links between gum disease and lung cancer found that “patients with oral diseases are at increased risk of developing lung cancer,” reported Medical News Today.

The paper outlined a few possibilities that explore how gum disease increases the risk of developing lung cancer. One explanation is the presence of the P. gingivalis bacteria in an infected mouth, which, when breathed into the lungs, leads to the secretion of enzymes. The enzymes tend to seep into healthy lung tissue and cause degradation of the healthy cellular structure. As the healthy tissue is being attacked, inflammation will immediately develop in the affected region. The inflammation will enable more pathogens to colonize the formerly healthy lung tissue. If lung inflammation persists for an extended period, it will damage more tissues and spark changes in the cellular structure. All of these factors lead to the combined effect of a heightened risk of a person developing lung cancer.

Don’t Take Consequences of Gum Disease Lightly

We have listed many unexpected dangers you may be susceptible, if you have gum disease. The conditions listed are more likely to occur if you suffer from gum disease. You can fret about all these unanticipated consequences, or you can focus on the positive takeaway, which is to maintain good oral hygiene maintenance practices.

The key message is: if you maintain the required dental hygiene, you not only reduce the risk of developing periodontal diseases but also reduce the risk of developing other serious health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, erectile dysfunction, pancreatic or lung cancer, or cardiovascular infections and diseases.

To conclude, using the words of the lung cancer researchers, “periodontal disease is a preventable and treatable disease,” and if we treat the earliest symptoms of oral disease properly, we can prevent a myriad of infections and conditions from taking root in our bodies.

icon 0 Reactions



Sign in to post a message



 

  • 0 icon
    Doctor examines senior woman for sore throat
    AD Ratings

    Tongue Microbiome & Pancreatic Cancer

    Diagnosing pancreatic cancer early could help fast-track a person's access to adequate treatment and boost the likelihood of a positive outcome. In a recent study, a team of researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China has investigated how the human tongue microbiota could act as a diagnostic tool for pancreatic cancer.

  • 0 icon
    Memory loss due to dementia. Senior man losing parts of head  as symbol of decreased mind function.
    AD Ratings

    Does poor oral health impact brain function?

    Oral health can be a surprisingly good indicator of a person's well-being. Not only can oral diseases reduce a person's quality of life, but they can also increase the risk of other serious conditions. Perceived stress may detrimentally impact oral health which, in turn, may lead to cognitive decline among specific elderly communities, according to two new studies.

  • 0 icon
    DrMac
    AD Ratings

    Dr. Pamela MacPherson : Center For Dental Restorations

    Dr. MacPherson has been voted and listed as San Diego’s Top Dentists every year since 2013. She cherishes this title bestowed on her by her peers in the dental community. She also experiences pride in the fact that more than 99% of her patients recommend her to their family and friends.

  • 0 icon
    TLC dentistry with a purpose
    AD Ratings

    TLC For Smiles Granada Hills

    At this Granada Hills dental office, TLC for Smiles provides its customers with Tender Loving Care. TLC for Smiles specializes in children’s dentistry and orthodontics for people of all ages. In fact, TLC for Smiles is the top 1% of the nation’s providers of Invisalign for adults, teens and kids.

  • 0 icon
    healthcare, profession, gesture, stomatology and medicine concept - smiling male middle aged dentist pointing finger up over medical office background
    AD Ratings

    Tips for Choosing the Right Dentist

    A credentialed, skillful, and experienced dentist can be the difference between a successful dental procedure and a costly oral health disaster. Be it infected gums, missing teeth, or complex oral surgery, a capable dentist specialist will diagnose it properly, choose the right treatment, and successfully carry out the procedure to ensure your long-term dental health and emotional poise: quite possibly, at an affordable cost.

  • 0 icon
    Beautiful young woman toothy smile.
    AD Ratings

    Can Dentists Grow Back Your Tooth Enamel?

    The first thing people observe when you smile is your teeth, and healthy pearly whites ensure a great smile. According to many dental care professionals, the best way to maintain that glint in your teeth is to take proper care of your teeth’s enamel.

  • 0 icon
    Insurance Fraud
    AD Ratings

    Mira Mesa dentist facing criminal charges

    Mira Mesa - A Mira Mesa dentist is facing criminal charges for fraudulently billing multiple insurance companies a staggering total of $592,550 for root canals she allegedly never actually performed.

  • 0 icon
    Portrait of a smiling senior woman sitting in the doctor's office with dental x-ray on the background
    AD Ratings

    Depressed And Lonely Dental Patients

    Very few private dental practices offer to address specific mental anxieties of their patients who also happen to be their dental patients. Dental offices often address dental anxiety, but not many dentists respond to the particular psychological issues a patient may be dealing during a dental visit.

  • 0 icon
    Dental floss focused with  toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, at background, essential oral care products recommended by dentist.
    AD Ratings

    Oral Hygiene Maintenance and Alzheimer’s

    Researcher Piotr Mydel, at the Broegelmanns Research Laboratory in the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen (UiB), describing the connection, said, "We discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain," reported Science Daily.

  • 0 icon
    Broken tooth dental symbol and toothache dentistry concept as a single cracked damaged molar on an isolated white background.
    AD Ratings

    The Unanticipated Consequences Of Gum Disease

    The latest research suggests that gum disease, a common and discomforting disease, is so much more than just that. Mounting evidence points to the many unrelated health problems caused by gum disease bacteria. Maintaining your oral health is, therefore, not only vital for your oral health but also general health.

  • 0 icon
    Dentist checks the teeth of a patient
    AD Ratings

    Oral health & High Blood Pressure

    If you have poor oral health and hypertension, watch out. Latest medical research indicates that poor oral health can get in the way of blood pressure control and affect hypertension treatment. According to the study published in the American Heart Association's journal, patients with good oral health are more likely to benefit from planned medication for high blood pressure, reported Science Daily.

  • 0 icon
    people, medicine, stomatology and health care concept - happy male dentist showing tablet pc computer to woman patient at dental clinic office
    AD Ratings

    Oral Care And Substance Abuse Recovery

    Patients recovering from substance use disorder have a better chance at drug abstinence, recovery, and improved quality of life, including professional and personal life if they take care of their oral health. The latest study points to a link between proper oral care and emotional and physical emotional recovery of a patient receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

  • 0 icon
    Dentist holding a medical history asking information to a patient before treatment sitting on a chair in a clinic box
    AD Ratings

    Measles Other ATDs

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends that dental practices should screen all their patients for highly contagious viruses and other aerosol transmissible diseases before administering dental treatment to ensure adequate disease prevention.

  • 0 icon
    9948689a-aeac-47cb-ab9a-71fdf3b55bb9
    AD Ratings

    Smooching Your Pet

    Getting wet licks from your dog, cat, or another pet on your mouth is often considered a healthy expression of love and concern. Wanting and showing affection is not surprising as your shaggy bundle of love and delight intends to be an intimate part of your life.

  • 0 icon
    Portrait of a beautiful senior woman with healthy smile holding green apple at the dental office
    AD Ratings

    Low-Cost Dental Care For Seniors

    A healthy mouth is vital to your physical health. Without oral health, it is difficult to be in the best possible physical condition, especially if you are a senior. Recent studies also support the correlation between overall body health and oral health.