Dr. David Nunez, Harlingen Family Dentistry, presented ”Dental Inflammation and How It Affects Your Total Health”, to a capacity audience at the Harlingen Medical Center Doc Talks, Feb. 22, 2017. The role of dental plaque was explained and how it links to oral infection causing gum disease. Gum disease may increase the risk of the following:
- Atherosclerosis and heart disease — Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. It also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
- Stroke — Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
- Premature births — A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.
- Diabetes — Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
- Respiratory disease — Bacteria involved in gum disease may cause lung infections or worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.