Gum Disease – Medical Consequences
Gingivitis, when left untreated, can progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is linked to other serious health risks. New research demonstrates that inflammation may link gum disease to other chronic conditions.
There is an association between gum diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, patients with periodontitis are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those who do not. Researchers are not sure why this happens, but one theory is that the harmful bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream and clogs the blood vessels in the heart. This then could trigger heart attacks.
Scientists have also found links between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and the premature birth of babies.
Consult a GP and Dental Health Professional Right Away
Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage gum diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
When an inflammatory condition is suspected or diagnosed, it is important to consult with both a general physician and a dental health professional, such as a Gum Specialist (Periodontist). Sometimes the only way to detect gum diseases is through a periodontal (gum) evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important if you:
- Have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease or osteoporosis or are at risk of developing these diseases (if they run in your family)
- Are thinking of becoming pregnant
- Have a family member with gum disease as gum disease can be hereditary
- Have a sore or irritated mouth that does not get better within two weeks (although most gum disease progresses without any discomfort)
- Are a smoker.
If you believe you suffer from periodontal disease, please call us for an assessment.
Nutrition and Gum Disease
Gum disease in the forms of gingivitis and periodontal disease occur because the gums that hold your teeth stable and in place become inflamed. If left untreated, this will eventually lead to tooth mobility and tooth loss. Periodontal treatment will help to remove and reduce the unwanted bacteria that is triggering the gums to inflame, however inflammation is also prolonged and driven by our nutritional and health status so we may recommend you see our Nutritional Therapist, Annie Gill.
So what’s driving the inflammation?
The obvious candidates are poor dietary choices such as high sugary and processed foods as well as smoking, stress, excessive weight and excess alcohol consumption.
What you choose to eat plays a huge role in how well your immune system deals with inflammation. You may not be absorbing your food efficiently because you have low stomach acid and therefore you’re inadequately breaking your foods down. Or your digestive system may be inflamed, perhaps you suffer from IBS or IBD and therefore the nutrients just aren’t being absorbed into your system. Maybe you have experienced environmental stresses such as stress at work, or overuse of antibiotics and medications which have stripped away your healthy gut bacteria leaving your body ill equipped to effectively break down and absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat.
For your body to work towards re-balance, your immune system will create inflammation in order to help fix the problem. This inflammation will occur not just in your mouth but also systematically around your body.
So how can seeing a Nutritional Therapist help?
As a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist, Annie Gill can help identify the foods and digestive imbalances that are driving this inflammation, devise a Bespoke Nutritional Plan that responds to your symptoms and offer on-going support to help re-establish balance and reduce ‘inflammation’.
Annie will help ensure your nutritional intake is balanced, i.e. that it contains the correct levels of Macronutrients and Micronutrients that will aid a reduction in inflammation. If required she will identify foods that stress your body, such as food intolerances, so you are less likely to become inflamed. Annie will guide you to nurture a balanced digestive terrain that will optimise your ability to absorb foods efficiently.
Healthy dietary choices as well as improvement in processing and absorbing your foods will dramatically decrease your risk of inflammation