by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
At one time we thought that gum disease was just about loose teeth, bad breath, and many expensive trips to a dentist; unfortunately this is very far from the truth. There are pockets of infection in gum disease and the tiny blood vessels supplying the area are overburdened with the immune systems infection fighting cells; cells primed for combat mode. Many of these cells escape to the general circulation and primed as they are, light up little starbursts of inflammation.
All of these starbursts eventually can add up to big problems as they attack blood vessel walls increasing the risk of heart disease and even stroke and heart attack. But that’s not all, the invaders and gum disease are also being increasingly connected as causative with other health issues; poor blood sugar control in diabetics, rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few. Gum disease is not the only cause of these conditions but certainly good dental hygiene improves the likelihood that you will live a healthier life, and the way the science is accumulating; possibly a longer life.