An infection anywhere in the body can have a major impact on the immune system, lowering a patient’s ability to fight serious diseases. Some infections are worse than others, and gum disease is one of the most troublesome due to the mouth’s importance to the health of the rest of the body. When a dentist is able to treat gum disease, a patient is more likely to have a greater ability to fight infection and improve the immune system.
A Problematic Cycle
Gum disease allows toxic bacteria to have direct access to a patient’s blood stream, as well as to his or her lungs. This constant contact of negative organisms allows the infection to spread easily through the body. Once the infection spreads, the immune system becomes stressed beyond its capacity to function properly. As the immune system weakens, fighting off the original gum infection becomes more difficult, leaving a patient vulnerable to even more diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
Advanced cases of gum disease can be difficult to treat, since the immune system is already so weakened that getting rid of the infection is a challenge.
Obtaining Treatment for Gum Disease
Those who suffer from gum disease and have not sought out treatment are not likely to be able to return to full health without the assistance of a dental professional. Leaving gum disease untreated can be destructive to the entire body, but dentists can prescribe powerful infection-fighting medications to help patients get the disease under control, including antibiotics.
Treatment options for gum disease can be either surgical or non-surgical and may include the following, depending upon the severity of the case:
- Scaling and root planning
- Removal of plaque and tartar build-up
- Pocket reduction surgery
- Bone or soft tissue grafts
Some patients may only need a dental cleaning to heal their gum infection, while others may require more invasive procedures.
Gum disease treatment should begin as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the immune system and the overall health of the patient’s body.