Hopefully, you haven’t had to face the prospect of severe gum disease, and by relation, the increased risk of tooth loss that it brings with it. But if someday you do, then it is important to know exactly why gum disease is such a threat, and how the condition can harm more than just your smile. The secret lies in the microscopic causes of gum disease – the oral bacteria that cling to your gums and affect the functions of your immune system.
The Growth of Inflammatory Gum Disease
Oral bacteria are a natural and important part of your mouth’s ecosystem. Some are vital to maintaining balance, while others can prove harmful if allowed to grow and accumulate out of control. The sticky film of plaque that clings to your teeth daily is comprised mainly of these bacteria, and certain types are infamous for their ability to cause gum disease through uncontrolled inflammation.
These oral bacteria trick your immune system to avoid being eradicated by inflammation. As a result, when they infect your gums, the consequence is unchecked inflammation, with gum disease close on its tails.
The Oral-Systemic Connection
As gum disease progresses, the inflammation that periodontal bacteria cause grows worse, and your gum tissues can be eroded along with the jawbone underneath. This reaction makes gum disease the leading cause of adult tooth loss. It also poses a threat to your overall health if inflammation-causing oral bacteria are allowed to enter the bloodstream through compromised oral tissues.
Known as the oral-systemic connection, experts have discovered links between patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, like heart disease, with the chronic presence of untreated gum disease. Consequently, preventing or controlling gum disease can have a positive effect on your long-term systemic health as well as the health and integrity of your smile.