The mouth is now recognized as a portal of entry for many infections that affect overall health, including both physical health and emotional health. Among these infections are the 2 leading dental diseases, caries and periodontal disease, both of which remain common and widespread affecting nearly everyone at some point in the lifespan.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding Gums
- Pain upon Chewing
- Recent bite change
- Spaces Between teeth
- Food accumulation in gums
- Pus around teeth
- Sore or swollen gums
- Loose Teeth
- Gum Recession
- Chronic Bad Breath
If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may have Periodontal Disease.
It has been reported that 3 out of every 4 Americans have signs of mild periodontal disease or gingivitis. Almost 30% show signs of the more severe disease, chronic periodontitis. We now have reason to believe that the health of your teeth and gums may have a significant effect on the overall health of your body. Recent scientific literature suggests a strong relationship between oral disease and other systemic diseases and medical conditions.
The most significant areas identified to date to have a suspected oral systemic connection are:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Stroke and Heart Disease
- Pulmonary Disease
- Fetal Development
- Orthopedic Implant Failure
- Kidney Disease
In all of the above mentioned medical diseases, oral bacteria and periodontal disease are suspected contributing factors. In some cases, it may be the periodontal pathogenic bacteria and inflammatory toxins. In other cases, it may be the secondary inflammatory response within the body that may initiate or aggravate an underlying medical condition. Whatever the pathway, it is imperative that patients understand periodontal disease, and how it may be treated or prevented.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
Associations between periodontal disease and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease and pregnancy complications are currently being studied. Although the exact causal relationships between oral bacteria and various diseases have not yet been determined, the weight of the evidence thus far supports a plausible correlation. However, the elimination and/or maintenance of gum disease may prove to be an important factor to overall health.
Maintaining good oral health goes beyond brushing teeth a couple of times a day, daily flossing and the use of a good mouthwash. Even by being scrupulous with at home hygiene, over time, bio film (plaque) will adhere to teeth and harden. The plaque will form in hard to reach areas, creating pockets where bacteria can grow, requiring a professional cleaning. It is the excess accumulation of bacteria that causes the local periodontal tissue to become inflamed (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to a more chronic condition, periodontitis (periodontal disease). When inflammation is present, oral bacteria and their toxins can enter the general blood circulation. It is the body’s secondary inflammatory response to these circulating bacteria that is implicated in the complication of many medical conditions and diseases. The goal of periodontal treatment is to remove inflammation-causing bacteria from the mouth, thereby preserving tooth health and decreasing overall systemic inflammation.
Your Next Visit
Depending on the severity of the periodontal disease, the treatment will vary. For mild disease, scaling and root planing is recommended, along with creating new oral hygiene habits to eliminate its recurrence.