Risks and Repercussions of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can be accompanied by a series of risks and repercussions on our overall health. Did you know that it can even lead to cardiovascular problems? We'll tell you all about it in this article.
Risks and Repercussions of Periodontal Disease

Last update: 01 December, 2020

A periodontal disease is one that affects the gums. In this article, we’ll focus on the risks and repercussions of periodontal disease as it can have serious repercussions on our overall health. Don’t miss out!

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal lesions are produced by the accumulation of microorganisms that alter the gums. If this disease isn’t corrected in time, it advances slowly and can even cause tooth loss, and lead to other illnesses in the body.

On the one hand, we find gingivitis which is the inflammation of gums that causes bleeding during brushing without loss of bone. On the other hand, periodontitis, which in addition to inflammation and bleeding, causes bone loss.

Preventive measures and patient education about periodontal disease is essential to avoid its development. In addition, it’s very important to know how to explain and publicize basic hygiene measures and other risk factors that are key to stopping the progression of this disease.

A doctor and patient.
To reduce the risk of complications from periodontal disease, it’s important to know the disease and the measures to prevent it.

Risk factors

This type of health issue can be produced by different causes. Among them we find the following:

  • Poor hygiene, which causes an accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the gum line.
  • Hormonal changes, especially those that occur in women during adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which affect the periodontium, especially if there’s pre-existing gum inflammation.
  • Systemic diseases (Down syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, among others).
  • Occlusal traumas.
  • Smoking is one of the main risk factors, since it increases the probability of suffering from periodontitis and interferes with the healing of tissues.
  • Lifestyle can become a risk factor for periodontal health, due to inadequate diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol consumption.

Risks and repercussions of periodontal disease

Both gingivitis and periodontitis can affect our health, and cause or worsen underlying diseases that already exist.

Vascular alterations

Multiple studies have linked periodontal disease to vascular alterations. This situation occurs when oral bacteria passes into the bloodstream.

The microorganisms in periodontal disease cause endocardium inflammation and adhere to the heart valves and heart tissues that are previously damaged. As a result, they can cause diseases such as:

  • Bacterial endocarditis
  • Infarction
  • Cardiopathies
  • Thrombosis
  • Coronary insufficiency
  • Varicose veins

Arteriosclerosis

Arteriosclerosis representation.
Narrowing of blood vessels due to excess cholesterol causes atherosclerosis. Researchers associate its development with some bacteria responsible for periodontal disease.

It’s a disease in which there’s a narrowing of the blood vessels by the adhesion of cholesterol plaques on their walls. Furthermore, after studying this plaque, bacteria related to periodontal disease have been found.

Likewise, experts have shown that these bacteria help form lipopolysaccharides, which are responsible for cholesterol aggregation.

Respiratory diseases

By inhaling the bacteria found in the mouth, they pass into the airways and reach the lungs. Among them we find:

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Lung abscesses

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is another disease that’s related to periodontal problems. The main evidence that supports this theory is that specialists are able to stabilize the glycemia after the completion of periodontal treatment. Likewise, untreated periodontal disease destabilizes glycemia.

Gum disease is also associated with kidney disease, cerebrovascular disorders, premature delivery, and low birth weight.

How can we solve periodontal disease?

The periodic reviews carried out by the dental professional are fundamental to be able to diagnose the disease.

  • Both cleaning and root-scraping and smoothing treatments, commonly known as curettage, are the basic treatments to put an end to it.
  • While the disease is in an initial period, it’s necessary to eliminate the accumulated bacteria through professional prophylaxis.
  • Lastly, in the case of periodontitis, specialists usually divide the treatment into two phases. First, in the basic phase, the specialists eliminate the microorganisms responsible for the infection by scraping and root planing. In more serious conditions, patients will have to undergo periodontal surgery to access the gum pockets.

In conclusion, oral health unquestionably has a secondary effect on general health. Therefore, it’s very important to keep it under control with check-ups, and to curb periodontal disease as soon as possible. With good control over periodontal disease, we also ensure the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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