Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition that is the leading cause of tooth loss. It affects 46% of all adults in the U.S. aged 30 and older. Approximately nine percent of adults have severe gum disease, which can lead to many other health conditions. The potential for gum disease increases in people who have diabetes, use tobacco, or have poor oral hygiene habits.
Researchers have found a strong link between poor oral health and gum disease and digestive disorders. Oral bacteria can travel directly to the gut after being swallowed. The relationship between the oral microbiome and the gut microbiome is significant.
If you struggle with gum disease or periodontal disease, you can seek treatment from the Babylon gum disease specialists of Babylon Dental Care. Treatment can help diminish your risk of infection and improve your gum health. This, in turn, can help improve your overall health and your quality of life.
What Is Gum Disease?
Frequently, the term “gum disease” or “gingivitis” refers to the early stages of periodontal disease. The condition develops after bacteria infect your mouth, which causes inflammation in the gums. When you forget to floss and brush, a sticky film of bacteria and food can form along the gum line.
This is called plaque, and it gets trapped between the bottom of the tooth and the gum line, where an infection forms. If it is not removed within 72 hours, it can harden into tartar, which makes it more difficult to completely clean your teeth and gums.
Without consistent proper dental care, this can lead to damaged soft tissue and bone and then tooth loss. Common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath or a bad taste that won’t go away
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dusky red, or purplish colored gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that bleed easily and have pulled away from your teeth
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Your Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health
Your gut microbiome is filled with bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are essential to your good health. There are approximately 100 trillion microorganisms within the human gut. Researchers now believe that the microbiome is essentially an organ that encodes over 3 million genes and produces thousands of metabolites. In other words, it influences fitness and health characteristics.
The gut microbiome helps regulate your immune system, weight, heart health, and other aspects of your overall health. You’re first exposed to microbiomes when you’re born and pass through your mother’s birth canal. Some studies have also suggested that babies come in contact with their first microbes while still inside the womb.
An overgrowth of harmful microbes causes a condition called gut dysbiosis. This can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Other studies have linked your gut microbiome to blood sugar control, cognitive functioning, psychological disorders, and digestive disorders.
Poor Oral Health Increases Gut Inflammation
Research has shown that the consequences of poor oral hygiene go well beyond cavities and tooth loss. Oral bacteria can spread throughout the body by initially entering the bloodstream through openings in the gum or being swallowed and entering the gut.
When oral bacteria move into the gut, it changes the gut microbiome community and negatively impacts your immune defense. Patients who have chronic periodontitis may develop a dysregulation in the gut that leads to gastrointestinal disease.
Research has also indicated there’s a bidirectional relationship between periodontitis and digestive disorders in which chronic oral or intestinal inflammation can have an impact on the other. Precisely how this happens has remained unclear, but evaluation of the data demonstrates that it does happen.
Researchers and dentists also agree that gum disease and periodontal disease are linked to a whole list of other health complications including heart problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and birth complications.
Digestive Disorders That May Be Associated with Poor Oral Health
Several digestive disorders have been linked to gut dysbiosis, including inflammatory bowel disease. One study published in 2020 evaluated the results of six studies and concluded that individuals with inflammatory bowel disease had a higher rate of suffering from periodontitis. However, the research did not identify the mechanism that linked the two.
Another study from the University of Michigan found individuals with periodontitis also had a higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. The study authors hope that this would provide novel treatments for irritable bowel disease since many patients still fail to get relief using medications. This leads to a reduction in quality of life and, ultimately, surgical intervention to control the inflammation.
Protect Yourself from Gum Disease
It is vitally important to protect your mouth from gum disease and, by doing so, protect your overall health. The dentists at Babylon Dental Care can help you and your family understand the symptoms and consequences of periodontal disease. We’ll discuss some effective treatments with you that can help you fight against gum disease.
Fortunately, prevention is as easy as practicing good oral hygiene. Flossing after every brushing can help get rid of trapped food and bacteria. You should also brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Everyone should see the dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and inspection. Your dentist can help find gum disease changes early, which makes it easier to treat and regain gum health.
Contact Babylon Dental Care Today to Protect Your Oral and Gut Health
Your oral health is related to your gut health, which in turn is related to digestive disorders. Inflammatory bowel diseases can significantly impact your quality of life and create long-term issues with your immune system.
You can prevent these changes when you practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist twice a year. Our dental team has years of experience treating many different oral conditions. We treat our patients with respect and compassion to make your dental experience the best that it can be.