Family Friendly Dentists in Belconnen, Canberrra.

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Your Dentist in Belconnen

Effect of gum disease

Poor brushing and flossing habits allow disease causing dental plaque to build up on teeth which leads to gingivitis (inflammation of gums). Inflamed gums become red and swollen and may bleed during tooth brushing or flossing. This is the early stage of periodontal disease.

Gum disease can be controlled with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings by the dentist or the hygienist.

Gum disease has been linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature births or low birth weight.

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Uncontrolled gingivitis could lead to a more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontal disease is infection of the supporting tissue that hold the teeth in place namely the gum and bone. In advanced stages, they lead to painful chewing problems and even tooth loss. People with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of periodontal diseases which in turn make it hard to keep your blood sugar under control.


Smoking causes a number of health issues particularly heart disease and cancer. Studies show that smoking also increases the chances of developing gum disease. Smokers are about five times more likely than non-smokers to have gum disease. The risk is even greater for smokers with diabetes which can be about 20 times more likely for an individual aged 45 years and above than a person without these risk factors.

Pregnancy Gingvitis

The hormonal changed during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis. This condition is called pregnancy gingivitis which can affect as much as 50%-70% of pregnant women. People with pre-existing gum problem are more susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis. This condition is attributed to increase level of progesterone during pregnancy which can promote certain bacterial growth that causes gingivitis. The increase hormones also make the gingival tissue more sensitive to plaque and exaggerate the body’s response to the toxins.

If you are due for a professional cleaning, don't skip it simply because you are pregnant. Now more than ever, professional dental cleanings are particularly important.

Gum Disease and Premature Birth

The link between gum disease and premature birth has been shown in some studies. One of the published study demonstrate that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before gestational week 37) and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums.

Mothers with the most severe periodontal disease delivered the most prematurely, at 32 weeks. Whether treating gum disease reduces the risk of preterm birth is not yet known.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Our Macquarie dentists say that many studies have shown the relationship between heart disease and gum disease.

The joint recommendations of The American Academy of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology encourages cardiologists to ask their patients about any gum disease problems, and the periodontists to ask their patients about any family history of heart disease and their heart health.

Effect of poor mastication on general health

Individuals with impaired dentition may impose certain dietary restrictions which can compromise their nutritional status increasing their health risk. The declining ability to chew food is responsible for the elderly consuming predominantly soft, easy to chew foods, which, in turn, can lead to mal-nourishment and marginal nutritional intakes.

Effect of infected teeth on the body

If dental decay is left untreated it may progress to infect the pulp of the tooth which will eventually lead to an abscess formation. This dental abscess can become sufficiently big enough to perforate bone (leading to osteomyelitis) and extend into the soft tissue (leading to cellulitis). It may further progress further along the path of least resistance and may spread either internally or externally. The path of the infection is influenced by such things as the location of the infected tooth and the thickness of the bone, muscle and fascia attachments.

The abscess can establish a path of drainage which begins as a boil which bursts allowing pus drainage from the abscess. A long standing (chronic) drainage will allow an epithelial lining to form in this communication to form a pus draining canal called fistula.

Severe complications that immediate hospitalization includes spreading cellulitis termed Ludwig's angina which can compromise the airway space causing suffocation in extreme cases. Also infection can spread down the tissue spaces to the mediastinum which has significant consequences on the vital organs such as the heart. Another complication, usually from upper teeth, is a risk of septicaemia (infection of the blood) from connecting into blood vessels, brain abscess (extremely rare), or meningitis (also rare)