Periodontal diseases, heart disease, stroke, Osteoporosis and pregnancy related diseases seem to be unlikely bedfellows. Dental research, however, proves to our contrary beliefs. People with gum infections are twice as likely to also suffer from coronary heart diseases. Additionally, an oral infection is indeed a major risk factor for stroke. On the flip side, periodontal diseases have been known to exacerbate, or even be the direct cause of some conditions.
The term periodontal is a combination of two words; perio- meaning around, and dontal- meaning teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gingival structures around the teeth. This includes the gum, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligament. Periodontal diseases are often characterized by destruction of dental tissues that disrupts tooth structures and can lead to the detachment of teeth from the bone.
Connection between periodontal diseases and pregnancy
Pregnancy is associated with numerous hormonal changes which increase the risk of an expectant mother to develop periodontal infections and gingivitis. One of the leading causes of the periodontal diseases in pregnant mothers is prostaglandin- a labor inducing compound present in some of the periodontal-causing bacteria strains. Elevated levels of prostaglandin can lead to premature birth, preeclampsia and low-birth weight.
Connection between periodontal diseases and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that is often associated with postmenopausal women. The condition is characterized by bone fragility and a decrease in bone muscle density. Inflammation of the jaw bones from periodontal diseases can aggravate the level of bone breakdown and is more progressive with patients suffering from osteoporosis.
Connection between periodontal diseases and coronary diseases
There is no doubt that there is a direct relation between periodontal infections and heart diseases. One theory suggests that when the oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach themselves on the fatty plaques on the coronary tissues, they may lead to the formation of clots – consequently leading to stroke.