What Can My Good Oral Health Help Guard Against?
How can this affect my heart?
When people have gum disease, it is thought that bacteria from the mouth can get into their bloodstream.
The bacteria produce protein. This can then affect the heart by causing the platelets in the blood to stick together in the blood vessels of the heart. This can make clots more likely to form. Blood clots can reduce normal blood flow, and if the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a heart attack.
Can gum disease affect my unborn baby?
Pregnant women who have gum disease may be over three times more likely to have a baby that is premature and so has a low birth weight. There is a one-in-four chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease will give birth before 35 weeks.
It is thought that gum disease may raise the levels of the chemicals that bring on labour.
Having gum disease treated properly during pregnancy can reduce the risk of a premature birth.
Does the bacteria in the mouth affect my lungs?
Bacterial chest infections are thought to be caused by breathing in fine droplets from the throat and mouth into the lungs.
People with gum disease have more bacteria in their mouths and may therefore be more likely to get chest infections which can lead to pneumonia.
This particularly affects frail, elderly people who may die from pneumonia caused by breathing in the bacteria from their own mouth.
Is there a link between gum disease and a stroke?
Several studies have found that people who have had a stroke are more likely to have gum disease than people who have not had one.
Can I reduce my risk to Diabetes?
People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without it. This is probably because diabetics are more likely to get infections in general. People who do not know they have diabetes, or whose diabetes is not under control, are especially at risk.
Also, if you are diabetic, you may find that you heal more slowly.
If you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of losing teeth.
What signs should I look out for?
Visit your dental team if you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, which can include:
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), causing them to be red, swollen and to bleed easily, especially when cleaning.
An unpleasant taste in your mouth.