Oral inflammation leads to increased systemic (affecting the whole body) inflammation. Severe oral inflammation called chronic gum disease, or periodontitis, is characterized by swollen, bleeding gums and bone loss. It produces a bacteria that releases a harmful protein known as IL-6 (interleukin-6). IL-6 is an inflammatory cytokine that can trigger the out-of-control reaction of the immune system known as a cytokine storm.
Increased systemic inflammation is a precursor for diseases like heart disease, stroke, dementia, pancreatic cancer, and many others. Most alarming is that most are not aware of this connection between oral health and overall health.
Gingivitis is considered an acute inflammatory condition. It’s caused by high levels of plaque, which forms naturally on teeth and gums if you don’t brush and floss well enough. Gingivitis can be reversed by removing plaque before it builds up significantly. It’s categorized as an “acute” condition because it can be treated and removed. The best way to prevent or reverse gingivitis is by brushing and flossing twice a day, and getting your death cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist regularly — for most that is twice a year.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition. Periodontal disease is highly correlated with other inflammatory conditions. See this list below to learn more about how oral inflammation and systemic inflammation can cause preventable disease.