How Periodontal Disease Cause Systemic Disease
How Periodontal Disease Cause Systemic Disease In Dogs.
Periodontal disease in dogs can cause systemic (whole-body) disease through a process called bacteremia and the release of inflammatory mediators.
Bacteremia refers to the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream, and when it originates from the oral cavity, it can spread to other organs and tissues throughout the body.
The mouth is teeming with bacteria due to the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
Here’s how periodontal disease can cause systemic problems:
1. Bacterial Spread:
In the presence of advanced dental disease, the gums become inflamed and form pockets around the teeth.
These pockets allow bacteria to access the bloodstream. When your dog chews, brushes their teeth, or experiences any activity that agitates the gums, bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream through the compromised gum tissues.
Once bacteria from the oral cavity enter the bloodstream, they can travel to various organs and tissues in the body. The liver, kidneys, heart, and joints are among the organs commonly affected. The presence of these bacteria in other areas can lead to infections and cause damage to those organs.
3. Inflammatory Response:
Additionally, the body responds to the presence of these bacteria by mounting an immune response, releasing inflammatory mediators (such as cytokines) to combat the infection. While inflammation is a natural defense mechanism, chronic inflammation due to ongoing bacteremia can be harmful. Prolonged inflammatory responses can damage tissues and contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
4. Cardiovascular Effects:
Dental disease is particularly concerning for the cardiovascular system.
Bacteria entering the bloodstream can attach to the heart’s valves, leading to endocarditis—a condition characterized by inflammation and damage to the heart’s inner lining. This can affect the heart’s ability to function correctly.
5. Kidney and Liver Complications:
Bacteria reaching the kidneys or liver can cause infections or inflammation in these vital organs, potentially impairing their function.
In some cases, bacteria can travel to the joints and cause infections or inflammation, leading to joint pain and mobility issues.
It’s important to note that not all dogs with dental disease will develop systemic issues, but the risk is higher in cases of severe or chronic dental problems.
Regular dental care and prompt treatment of dental disease can significantly reduce the risk of systemic complications.
This includes regular tooth brushing, providing dental treats or toys, and scheduling professional dental cleanings with a veterinarian as recommended based on your dog’s specific oral health needs. Early detection and intervention can help maintain both your dog’s oral health and overall well-being.