Many Chronic Diseases Start with
Gum Disease

April 18, 2008, last updated July 7 , 2017

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
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American Dental Association

Tucked away, in a dark corner of your mouth, is a tiny, wee
speck of a problem that one day could lead you to an early
grave.  That tiny speck is a wee bit of inflammation in your
gums called "periodontal disease". Periodontal disease is an
infection of your gums. This disease occurs when bacteria is
introduced into your mouth, causes inflammation, which then
attacks your gums and the bone that keeps your teeth attached
to you.

Periodontal disease is so common in the US now that, by the
time we reach 65, one in four of us have no natural teeth at all,
according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In the UK, at least
50% of the population has periodontal disease at some point,
according to the National Health Service.

Why, other than the unattractive bother of being toothless,
does this matter? It matters  plenty. Periodontal disease has
been linked with increasing your risk for a range of serious
health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes,
kidney disease and even Alzheimer's disease.

In fact, the more scientists study periodontal disease, the more
it appears that having periodontal disease is one of the key
predictors of how long you will live. How is that possible? How
can a bit of inflammation in your gums create such havoc with
your body?

Periodontal Disease Triggers the Inflammation Cascade




























Most people who become ill only become aware of their illness
when it causes a large effect.  You’re sweating, experiencing a
pain in your chest..aha…heart attack. Or, you’re feeling a pain
in your right side that won’t go away and the doctor diagnoses
kidney disease. Or, you’re feeling  tired all the time, no matter
how much you sleep, and your weight is changing even though
you’re not eating differently and the doctor diagnoses you as
diabetic.

But long before these large noticeable effects occur, your
disease began. It began in ways so microscopic that you were
not aware of it. But your cells were.  Your cells
' “awareness” of
disease occurs when inflammation starts. Inflammation is just
what it sounds like. It is an internal swelling, an internal fire,
and injury at the cell level, which triggers your body’s anti-
inflammation response.  The fire brigade, if you will.


This cascade is accompanied by release of cytokines,
destruction of healthy tissue and swelling.


Bacteria  starts the inflammation of your gums which leads to
periodontal disease. The early, most minor form of periodontal
disease is bleeding of your gums, also known as gingivitis.

Gingivitis is so minor that some doctors do not consider it as
full-blown periodontal disease. They reserve the term
"periodontal disease" to evidence of bone loss.  

Nonetheless, gingivitis is usually the first step. From gingivitis,
the injury and inflammation worsen until the mooring that
attach your gums loosen. If the problem remains untreated, the
bacteria  burrows in deeper, attacking the root of your teeth,
which eventually become wobbly, and fall out.  But all the while
that bacteria is feasting on your teeth and gums, it is doing
something else, something far more damaging. The bacteria  is
pouring into your bloodstream.  And it is causing inflammation
throughout your body.

C-Reactive Protein Levels Rise with Gum Disease

How do scientists know this? Scientists measure inflammation
using a “C-reactive protein” test. C-reactive protein –
technically known as system inflammatory reactant C-reactive
protein --- rises when there is inflammation in your body. C-
reactive protein’s job is to bind to the surface of cells which are
dead or in the process of dying. So, if your cells have been so
grievously wounded by bacteria that they are dying, C-reactive
protein springs into action.

What scientists have found is that periodontal disease markedly
increases the level of C-reactive protein in your blood stream,
with adverse consequences for every organ system it touches.

Here is some of the growing scientific evidence linking
periodontal disease with your overall health:



1.
Chronic Kidney Disease -Gum Disease Puts You At Risk

Having periodontal disease puts you at greater risk for chronic
kidney disease, according to a 2010 led by Dr. MA Fisher, of the
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, at the
University of Kansas School of Medicine.

The study observed that periodontal disease contributes to the
cumulative chronic systemic inflammatory burden on your
body.  

This chronic and cumulative burden of inflammation is a major
risk factor for chronic kidney disease.  

So much so, that the researchers strongly advised doctors
that” Adding oral health self-care and referral for professional
periodontal assessment and therapy to the repertoire of
medical care recommendations is prudent to improve patients'
oral health and possibly reduce CHD [coronary heart disease]
and CKD [chronic kidney disease] risk.”

2.
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Rises By 25% with Gum Disease

Men under 50 with periodontitis or with no teeth are 70%
more likely to have
coronary heart disease than men who do
not. This was the finding of a 1993 study led by Dr. F.
DeStefano and others from the Department of Epidemiology
and Biostatistics of the Marshfield Medical Research
Foundation. The study followed 9,760 people with periodontitis
for 13 to 16 years. A measurement of the degree of periodontal
disease was made at  the start. At the end  of the study,
researchers counted the number of participants with heart
disease and analyzed those outcomes against the initial
assessment of their oral health.

What about women? In addition to finding that men under 5
are particularly at risk for coronary events if they have
periodontal disease, the team also found that both men and
women of all ages with periodontal disease have a 25% higher
risk for coronary heart disease than those with minimal or no
periodontal disease.

3.
Diabetes Risk Rises with Gum Disease

Periodontal disease increases your risk for developing Type 2
diabetes, several studies have found.

For example, a 2015  study from S.D.M. College of Dental
Sciences and Hospital in  Dharwad, Karnataka, India found
that   “Chronic periodontal disease (CPD) and type 2 diabetes
mellitus (T2DM) share common pathogenic pathways involving
the cytokine network resulting in increased susceptibility to
both diseases, leading to increased inflammatory destruction,
insulin resistance, and poor glycemic control."

In fact, treating your periodontal disease with scaling and root
planing will actually
lower your blood sugar levels, the study
found.

4.
Endothelial Function -Gum Disease Attacks Your Artery Walls

After periodontal bacteria enter the inflamed tissues of your
mouth, they enter your blood stream and go elsewhere.
Scientists have traced the specific periodontal bacteria that
originate in the mouth all the way into the smooth lining of
your artery walls, called the endothelium. In 1999, an aptly
named study called “The Invasion of Human Coronary Artery
Cells by Periodontal Pathogens”, researchers from the
University of Florida discovered periodontal bacteria in the
walls of the arteries and in the plaques that block arteries when
you have arteriosclerosis. Once these bacteria enter the
endothelium, they can cause disease wherever your arteries
lead –which is everywhere in your body. For example,
endothelial dysfunction increases your risk for heart disease,
arterial diseases (such as blocked arteries) and stroke.

5.
Alzheimer's Disease Not Yet Conclusively Linked to Gum
Disease

A study in 2013 found that substances which cause periodontal
bacteria had made their way into the brains people with
Alzheimer's disease. These substances are called
"lipopolysaccharides". The study was carried out jointly by
scientists from the University of Central Lancashire, the Barts
and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as the
University of Florida.

Although Alzheimer's disease is theorized as having a similar
inflammatory pathway as other chronic diseases, no conclusive,
well-designed (large, randomized, controlled human) studies
have been concluded.  

The 2013 study , for example, only involved 20 people.  It
found that the periodontal bacteria appeared in the brains of 4
out of 10 people with Alzheimer's disease.

We at Collectivewizdom, therefore view this result as
preliminary.


6.
Gum Disease Increases Your Risk for Pneumonia

Respiratory pathogens can colonize in your mouth. These
pathogens, encouraged by poor oral hygiene and periodontal
disease, have been linked to nosocomial pneumonia, so says a
2003 study from the University of Buffalo, State University of
New York, School of Dental Medicine. This was a mega-study,
which examined 1,688 other existing studies on the subject,
before narrowing the sample down to 16 well-designed
studies. Nosocomial pneumonia is pneumonia that develops
while you are in a hospital.

The good news is that practicing good oral hygiene lowers
your risk A variety of oral hygiene techniques such as scaling
and planing, as well as using anti-biotics or chemical
disinfectants lower nosocomial pneumonia incidence by an
astonishing 40%.

































































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Bleeding when you brush your
teeth is a sign of gingivitis which,
left unchecked, can lead to
periodontal disease.
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WIZDOM.COM

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