Published: 04/21/2016

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious oral health ailment. It is characterized by swollen, red and painful gums. When left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and loss of the jawbone. It can even cause seemingly unrelated health problems.

Alzheimer’s Disease

People who have chronic untreated periodontal disease are known to have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In those who are already living with Alzheimer’s, inflamed gums can cause cognitive abilities to diminish more quickly.

Complications for Diabetics

Diabetes is already a tough disease to treat. Diabetics who live with unchecked gum problems could make the disease worse. Periodontal disease is known to make it harder to control blood sugar levels.

Heart Disease

Chronic inflamed gums make it twice as likely for the sufferer to also suffer from heart disease. This is because the bacteria that builds up in the gums will eventually reach the bloodstream. From there, it can travel to the heart and block its blood vessels. As the artery walls thicken, it is common to develop blood clots.

Problems in the Lungs

The bacteria present when a person has periodontal disease is the same bacteria known to cause serious respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

Pregnancy Complications

Expectant mothers who suffer from periodontal disease could see complications in pregnancy. They are as much as eight times more likely to deliver prematurely. Low birth weight could lead to complications and health problems for the baby as he or she struggles to thrive.

Other Complications

Gum disease has been linked to everything from severe halitosis to erectile dysfunction. People who live with the bacteria are even more likely to have a stroke.

If your gums are swollen or red, you should see a periodontist as soon as possible. Dr. Thomas K. McCawley and Dr. Mark N. McCawley treat gum disease on Fort Lauderdale, FL. Call (954) 522-3228 to schedule an appointment.

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