Gum disease is a terrible condition, that not only irreversibly damages your gums and jaw, leading to tooth loss, but has also been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Sadly, this disease is often completely preventable, but many people are hung up about going to the dentist. If you just needed more incentive to get to the dentist, research has just linked another potentially fatal condition to gum disease.
Periodontal Disease Proving Fatal
The study by the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology looked at 13,734 people living in the US and identified 861 individuals with chronic kidney disease. The researchers monitored these individuals’ health for roughly 14 years. They then wanted to assess links between periodontitis and mortality rates of people with chronic kidney disease and compare these numbers to links between diabetes and mortality rates of people chronic kidney disease.
Surprisingly, they found that in a ten year period, mortality rates due to any cause in individuals with kidney disease but without periodontitis was 32%, while it was 41% with periodontitis. These numbers are similar to ten year mortality rates for non-diabetic individuals with chronic kidney disease (32%) and diabetic individuals with chronic kidney disease (43%).
What to Take Away From the Data
The researchers discovered that in those individuals with chronic kidney disease, periodontitis is much more likely to lead to death than just dealing with chronic kidney disease alone. Periodontitis, which is a later form of gum disease, causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the gums. This, in turn, leads to an increased number of infections, illnesses, and systemic inflammation.
There are a number of ways you can protect your gums and teeth. Brushing twice per day and flossing once per day goes a long way to protecting your oral health. Also, a nutrient and probiotic rich diet can help protect your gums from bad bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Visiting a dentist is arguably the most important way to protect yourself from gum disease. Not only does a good dentist clean your teeth better than you can do at home, but he can also help identify any troubling areas of your mouth that may need some extra attention. And sedation dentistry can help you make your visits if you have dental anxiety.
If you live in the Orlando area and are in need of a dentist, please considering paying a visit to Dr. Weinstock from Michael L. Weinstock, DDS in Altamonte Springs. He can help protect your gums from gum disease and address any other oral health concerns you may have. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (407) 834-6446.