“Sepsis” is a severe medical condition where we see the body responding to a bacterial infection that has spread from a localized area to the entire body via the bloodstream. The blood essentially becomes toxic, due to harmful chemicals being generated. While it’s a dramatic comparison to make against something like gum disease, sepsis is simple to understand. Ultimately when we have any type of disease or infection on one area of our body — and it goes untreated — it can eventually evolve into something so severe that it triggers a response from our entire immune system. In turn, the rest of our body suffers from it.
Unfortunately, many people — including some doctors — don’t always consider oral health in relation to other underlying health factors. The two are often treated separately and apart from one another. But if something like aggressive gum disease goes untreated while you manage other medical conditions, the oral bacterial infection can jeopardize the success of your other therapies.
Oral Bacteria Spread Through the Bloodstream
In instances of active periodontal disease, the detached and infected gum tissues typically bleed quite easily. In turn, oral bacteria can become dislodged during normal activities and enter your bloodstream. Studies show that oral bacteria have been found in the heart, arteries, and cranial blood supply of heart attack and stroke victims.
We also know that the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease triggers inflammation. When these bacteria are inside of your cardiovascular system, it leads to overall inflammation and strain on your immune response.
Both of these scenarios, unfortunately, mean that it is more difficult for your body to fight off or even manage co-existing medical conditions.
Scientifically Linked Health Conditions
In numerous scientific studies, researchers have found that the more aggressive a person’s gum disease is, the more likely they are to suffer from advanced or complicated diagnoses like:
- Heart attack
- Preeclampsia and pre-term delivery
- Erectile dysfunction
…and possibly dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. People who had these conditions and treated them did not see as good of improvement in their medical condition as those who also treated their co-existing gum disease at the same time. By eliminating their oral infection, their body overall responded better to medical treatment for their co-existing health concern.
When you stabilize a severe oral infection like periodontal disease, your immune system is better equipped to manage the conditions deeper inside of your body. That way things like dietary changes and medications are more effective. One such example is that diabetics who received gum therapy typically see stabilized blood sugar levels more quickly than those who don’t manage their gum disease. And couples trying to conceive where one of the partners had gum disease, saw earlier conception timeframes when their oral infection was treated, compared to those who did not access their gum disease.
Take Charge of Your Health
Your smile is the gateway to your body. If you have symptoms of inflammation or bleeding, schedule an exam with our gum specialist in The Woodlands.