What are the consequences of periodontal disease?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Periodontal disease not only impacts your quality of life, cosmetically, nutritionally and socially, but also your overall health. Behind the scenes, the body's immune system is bombarded with signals that a bacterial infection is underway. So it brings out all the guns to deal with the invasion by marshalling germ-fighting cells and chemicals. But the problem with persistent inflammatory diseases like periodontal disease is the assault can be relentless and the body doesn't get a chance to recuperate. It is in a defensive state all the time. Herein lies the problem.

The theory holds that the high load of inflammatory chemicals and leakage of bacteria into the bloodstream can wreak havoc elsewhere in the body. The onslaught of bacteria, immune cells and inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein and other cytokines, may directly or indirectly influence or injure tissue to cause or worsen some common chronic diseases. Researchers are finding that they may make blood vessels more favorable for the build-up of fatty deposits, and affect insulin resistance, blood clot formation and brain cell activity. Bacteria from the mouth can travel to colonize tissue elsewhere in the body.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of gum tissue that, if left untreated, can lead to difficulty eating, chronic bad breath, and ultimately, tooth loss. Research also indicates that there is a possible connection between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases of the body, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.