During your routine dental appointment, your dentist says something unexpected. They tell you that your gums are infected and that this disease could be contributing to your health issues (high blood pressure, being overweight, trouble managing blood sugar levels, etc.). You’d expect to hear this kind of talk from a medical doctor, but how can a seemingly simple oral problem affect your metabolism or lead to metabolic syndrome?
First, you need to understand these conditions and why they can lead to serious trouble!
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
The way your body burns energy consists of a complex system. When your body digests food into sugar, insulin helps sugar enter your cells and fuel functioning, but your body can become resistant to insulin through various ways.
Metabolic syndrome is a clinical term that refers to several conditions, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess weight, that together raise your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Alone, these conditions can be dangerous and can slow down your body’s ability to use energy, but when they are combined, they pose a significant, worrisome risk to your health!
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Also frequently called gum disease, periodontal disease occurs when the gums in your mouth become infected and inflamed when plaque is allowed to harden on teeth. Initially, the bacteria in plaque cause the gums to be swollen and red and bleed easily. Eventually, the gums pull away from the teeth, and the infection spreads to the jawbone. Without professional intervention, tooth loss is the ultimate result of periodontal disease.
How Are These Two Conditions Connected?
At first glance, metabolic syndrome and periodontal disease may seem completely separate from each other. One occurs in the mouth, and the other is a systemic issue. However, this oral disease can affect more than just your gums and teeth. Unfortunately, the inflammation-causing bacteria can get into the bloodstream and impact blood vessels by making existing circulation problems worse. These bacteria can also be swallowed and alter the microbiome in your gut, tampering with your body’s insulin sensitivity.
In addition, tons of research has shown that having periodontal disease significantly increases your risk of developing diabetes because sustained infection often leads to weight gain and insulin resistance, two major risk factors of type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Well-Being?
The best way to ensure your overall health is to implement healthy habits into your lifestyle, including regular exercise and healthy food choices. But you can also help your body stay strong by maintaining your oral health. Everyday flossing and brushing, along with regular checkups with your dentist, lower your risk of periodontal disease and can therefore help you avoid metabolic syndrome.
Although taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t going to solve all your health problems, it plays an essential role in protecting the rest of your body. So the next time you visit your dentist, make the necessary changes to your lifestyle so that you can feel stronger and smile brighter!
About the Practice
Pioneer Greens Dentistry is proud to have two talented, compassionate dentists on staff who genuinely care about patients’ well-being. Dr. Claire and Dr. Chris Haag have decades of clinical experience and advanced training to help you, even if you just need a routine cleaning and checkup. To schedule an appointment with us, please call our office at 402-483-7502 or reach out to us online here.