Dangers of Plaque & Gingivitis to Your Health
Gum Disease and Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you are more likely than people who don't have diabetes to have gum disease. Why? Again, inflammation may be partly to blame. And, those with diabetes are more likely to contract any infections, including gum disease.
If your diabetes is not under control, you are at even higher risk of gum disease.
Gum Disease and Dementia
Gum disease has also been found to raise the risk of dementia later in life.
Other researchers have found that periodontal problems may also be associated with milder cognitive impairment, such as memory problems that make activities of daily life more difficult. In a recent study, participants who had the worst gum disease scored the worst on memory tests and calculations.
Periodontal Disease and RA
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease marked by inflammation and painful joints. People with RA are more likely to have periodontal disease, and one study found that they had more missing teeth than people who don't have RA.
Chronic inflammation is common to both conditions. Although scientists haven't found evidence that one condition causes the other, a 2009 study found that people with a severe form of RA had less pain, swelling, and morning stiffness after their periodontal disease was treated.
Gum Disease and Premature Birth
Studies on the link between periodontal disease and preterm birth have produced conflicting results. Although some show that women with gum disease are more likely to deliver a baby before term -- which sets up the baby for health risks -- others have not found a link. Studies are ongoing.
Despite those conflicting results, other research has found that treating periodontal disease in pregnant women helps them carry their infants to term. In a recent study, researchers found that women with periodontal disease who completed periodontal treatment before the 35th week were less likely to deliver their babies before term than those with periodontal disease who did not get treatment.
Minimizing the Dangers of Plaque & Gingivitis
To keep plaque under control, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.
Get your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis, and ask your dentist about the best cleaning schedule for you. Find out if you might benefit from a protective coating or sealant applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of your mouth, where tooth decay often begins.