Blood on your toothbrush can be a warning sign of gum disease. And, if you are overweight, it can indicate other serious health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Don't wait. Get to the dentist, advise two faculty members from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine's Department of Periodontics Charlene B. Krejci, DDS, MSD, and Nabil F. Bissada, DDS, MSD.
After reviewing previous research on gum disease and obesity, they found an association between both health problems, which they describe in the Journal of General Dentistry article, "Obesity and periodontitis: a link."
"Healthcare professionals need to be aware of the complexity of obesity and the role periodontitis has in overall health," said Bissada, professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics.
Periodontitis, commonly called gum disease (and gingivitis in its milder form), affects nearly half the U.S. population over age 30, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The disease ignites an inflammatory response as the body begins to fight off bacteria present in the dental plaque. If not treated, the inflammation eventually erodes the jawbone and loosens teeth. In severe cases, patients lose their teeth. The bacteria can also cause ulcers in the pocket surrounding the involved teeth and eventually enter the blood and settle in other parts of the body.