Gum disease occurs when the plaque on teeth grows under the gum line. Gums experience irritation at first, but they can eventually start to bleed and become inflamed. If left untreated, the infections of gum disease can damage gum tissue and result in tooth loss. But this isn’t all; gum disease has also been linked to several other health issues, such as the following:
- Individuals who have gum disease are twice as likely to get heart disease. This is because the oral bacteria infecting the gums can get into the bloodstream. It is believed that this bacteria produces proteins that make platelets stick together, which can form into blood clots.
- Because of a weakened immune system, diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease. This creates a vicious cycle because gum disease makes it harder for diabetics to control blood sugar levels.
- Droplets of water that are breathed into the lungs can grow bacteria there and cause infection. Those who have gum disease also have more bacteria in their mouth, making lung infection more likely to happen.
- Unborn infants can also suffer from the effects of gum disease in their mothers. Babies born to women who have gum disease are more likely to have a low birth weight or be born prematurely.