The CDC states that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the leading oral infections in the United States. In addition, the National Institute of Health cites it as the most common culprit for adults losing teeth. Because the early stages of periodontal disease often do not have noticeable symptoms, many patients…
Could Gum Disease Be a Sign of Another Condition?
It is easy to assume all gum disease is the result of poor oral hygiene. In many cases, it is. However, red or swollen gums can also be an indication of other health concerns completely unrelated to oral care. Because these conditions can be serious, it is important to pay attention to any changes or abnormalities in the gums.
Conditions indicated by unhealthy gums
Because mouth sores and swollen gums are fairly common, most people are unlikely to be concerned with these symptoms. The truth is, taking them seriously can help catch an illness in its early stages.
Sores and ulcers on the gums can be a symptom of lupus. Because they are not always painful, these types of gum abnormalities can be easy to ignore. While some canker sores are not signs of a disease, it can still be helpful to visit a dental professional if the condition occurs frequently or does not heal.
According to the Harvard Heart Letter, the plaque that sits on teeth and causes issues with the gums may be linked to plaque buildup in the arteries. People with gum disease are at least twice as likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or additional serious cardiovascular issues. While a direct connection has not been proven, chronic inflammation, such as is present in those with gingivitis, is known to play a key role in atherosclerosis.
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease that weakens the immune system. Because the body is more susceptible to bacteria in a weakened state, the first areas to be affected are often those more readily exposed to bacteria, such as the mouth. The food and beverages ingested throughout the day contain and nourish bacteria that can quickly cause inflammation when allowed to remain on the gums. Gums that continue to swell and get ulcers despite excellent oral hygiene can be an early indication of an autoimmune condition such as Crohn's disease.
High blood pressure
Both high blood pressure and some of the medications for high blood pressure can result in gum disease. Many people with high blood pressure experience swollen or bloody gums. If the gums are inflamed or easily bloodied, it can be a good idea to get a blood pressure test.
Diabetes can lower the amount of blood able to reach the gums, causing them to become swollen or red or even to pull away from the teeth. Because periodontal disease can lead to high blood pressure, this is especially concerning, as elevated blood pressure can cause diabetic complications. People exhibiting symptoms of gum infection may benefit from being tested for diabetes.
Swollen, inflamed gums can be a sign of gum disease. More than just a lack of oral hygiene, periodontal disease can be the body's way of indicating other more serious underlying conditions. As well, gum issues resulting from poor oral hygiene can also lead to health issues, so taking good care of the gums can directly impact the body's overall health. It is critical to address any concerning gum issues with a dental professional.
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The CDC reports that almost half of adults in the United States have a form of gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. For adults over 65, this number increases to 70%. This rampant disease is largely preventable, yet the subtle signs and symptoms in the early stages leave many patients unaware that…
Early detection is important when it comes to getting ahead of any ailment, gum disease included. When caught early, gum disease can be easily treated but advanced gum disease cannot be reversed. Depending on the severity, the different stages of gum disease come with varying symptoms.In its early stages, gum disease is medically known as…
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