Heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, respiratory disease. These words are enough to strike fear in the hearts of any individual. Whether or not you feel completely healthy, the signs of gum disease could be indicators that there is more going on than just the problems with your gums. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, a link between the emergence of gum disease and a class of diseases known as systemic disease has been identified. That’s because systemic diseases can affect the entire body, or many of the body’s systems, at the same time. While the specific link between gum disease and these systemic diseases is not definitively known, the theory among medical professionals suggests that chronic inflammation may be that link. Chronic inflammation is your immune system gone wild. Inflammation is one of your body’s most powerful tools to fight infections and remove non-wanted matter. When an infection, such as the bacteria that cause gum disease, is detected by your immune system, it “turns on” inflammation. You might visibly see this on the outside of your body as redness or swelling and you may experience discomfort or perhaps even the temporary loss of function in the area. This occurs when inflammation isolates the infected area, and floods it with antibodies, which begin the work of removing the infection and damaged or dead tissues from the area. This is how your body facilitates normal healing. Once the infection is completely removed, inflammation will be “turned off”. But if the infection is persistent, inflammation will linger, which can destroy healthy tissues and bone, leading to the inflammation associated with gum disease. The acids produced by the infecting bacteria, are what cause your teeth to fall out as the tissues and bones that hold them in place are slowly destroyed. The best way to combat these risks is to regularly receive checkups with a dental professional. If you think you may be at risk for or are experiencing redness or swelling in the gums, let the professionals at The Wagner Centre evaluate your situation. Contact us to make an appointment before the risk becomes reality.