Is Gum Disease Tainting Your Overall Health?

cloudy skies covering mouthBacteria play a more dominant role in human anatomy and physiology than many people realize. In fact, the human body contains about ten times more bacterial cells than human cells, including the mouth. Your mouth’s bacteria population make themselves known when they form dental plaque to cling to your teeth, which can happen just hours after brushing and flossing. Gum disease, an infection in the soft periodontal tissues that surround your teeth, results from the biological processes of bacteria that have overwhelmed your mouth (the result of poor hygiene and dental care). According to numerous studies and bodies of research, these same bacterial processes can also wreak havoc with your overall health once gum disease is allowed to develop and mature.

How Gum Disease Works

Gingivitis—arguably the most-frequently discussed stage of gum disease—describes the initial stages of the periodontal infection that leads to severe periodontitis. When gingivitis is present, your gums can become red and swollen, and they may bleed whenever you brush and floss your teeth. The inflammation is caused by your own immune system as it attempts to hunt down and eliminate the infectious bacteria. Certain microbes, particularly of the family Porphyromonas gingivalis, can evade your immune system’s response, and their chronic presence can lead to rampant, damaging inflammation and gum disease.

Long-Reaching Implications

Within the confines of your mouth, P. gingivalis and other bacteria are considerably dangerous. When gum disease or other issues cause bleeding in your oral tissues, bacteria can travel outside of their natural habitat and into your blood stream, continuing their processes throughout other tissues in your body. Given their penchant for evading your body’s inflammatory response, P. gingivalis bacteria can significantly increase your risk of other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as;

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Respiratory infections
  • Heart disease, attack, and failure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease


Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled general, restorative, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To learn more about treating or preventing gum disease, stay tuned to our upcoming blogs, or contact us today by calling Loukas General Dentistry at (847) 696-1919.

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