Periodontal / Gum Disease Treatment
If you've been told you have periodontal disease, you're not the only one. It's one of the most prevalent health conditions on the planet.
This disease has three stages of progression: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis; the longer the disease has to advance, the more damage it causes.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, or more commonly known as gum disease, affects nearly 75 percent of American adults – the majority of them being completely unaware. Since the onset of periodontal disease is often painless, it frequently progresses untreated. Although commonly painless, the consequences of untreated periodontal disease can be very detrimental to your oral health and potentially overall health.
What causes this?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in plaque. If not consistently removed, this bacteria builds up, infecting your teeth, gums, lower gum tissue and eventually the bone that supports your teeth - a common cause of tooth loss.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, tender, and swollen gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Gum line receding , or gums are pulling away from teeth and forming pockets
- Pain when chewing, loose teeth or changes in bite alignment
What effects can it have on overall health?
Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues such as:
- Heart disease - The link between gum disease and heart problems has long been recognized, but the relationship of oral health and overall health is still unclear. UK and Irish experts now say bacteria enters the bloodstream via sore gums and deposit a clot-forming protein. The findings are being presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. Previously, a Scottish study of more than 11,000 people found people who did not brush their teeth twice a day were at increased risk of heart disease. This supported previous findings that suggested a link, but researchers stressed the nature of the relationship still needed further analysis.
- Diabetes - Having poor oral health increases your chances of developing Diabetes. This occurs because gum disease can negatively affect blood glucose control, which contributes to the development of Diabetes. Research also shows that gum disease can have an adverse effect on metabolism, which in turn affects insulin production, which can lead to pre-Diabetes. If you already have Diabetes, poor oral health can make it more difficult to manage as well. Infections stemming from gum disease can increase your blood sugar, increasing the demand for more insulin.
- Low birth-weight babies - Another concern is the development of low birth weight infants stemming from infection. One such infection that can cause this problem is oral infection. Research suggests that periodontal disease causes inflammation, which puts the expectant mother at risk for pregnancy complications such as delivering a low birth weight infant or a preterm birth. In addition, studies have shown that the amniotic sac may be ruptured prematurely due to our body's production of inflammatory chemicals. In fact, an estimated 15% of premature babies are the result of gum disease migrating to the amniotic fluid.
It may also contribute to the development of oral cancer, which has become the sixth deadliest cancer in the world, with more than 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year – on average, 40% of those cases will result in death.
One person every hour dies from oral cancer, making it more deadly than Hodgkin's lymphoma, cervical, thyroid and skin cancers.
What can be done to prevent gum disease?
- The key to preventing periodontal disease, and other problems that may stem from it, is early detection.
- In fact, studies suggest that 90% of oral cancer cases are cured when detected early, so receiving consistent check-ups is vital.
- Straighter teeth are easier to clean and create a tighter defense against bacterial growth. That's why we provide Invisalign at our office for effective straightening.
There are steps you can take everyday to help prevent periodontal disease, including:
- Brushing and flossing consistently at least twice daily
- Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse daily to help control plaque
- Scheduling regular check-ups