What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease, is a common dental problem that affects around 75% of adults in the United States. Most people who suffer from this condition are unaware of its existence because it is usually painless during its early onset and progressing gradually when left untreated. Periodontal disease is important because in most cases if affects the patient’s overall or systemic health.
What Causes The Illness?
The bacteria in plaque is linked to the manifestation of the periodontal disease. If the plaque is not frequently removed, bacteria build up and start to affect the teeth, gums, and tissue progressing onto the jaw bones that hold the teeth in place. As such, untreated gum disease ultimately leads to the loss of teeth.
The symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Tender gums that are swollen, red, and bleed when flossing or brushing the teeth
- A consistent bad taste and bad breath in the mouth
- Receding gum line that exposes the lower parts of the teeth and forms pockets around the teeth
- Displaced bite alignment and pain when chewing
- Loose Teeth
How Periodontal Disease Can Affect Your Overall Health
Gum disease is linked to several serious health issues that include:
While the periodontal disease has been linked to heart problems, the impact of oral health on a person’s overall health is still unclear. However, some UK and Irish health experts suggest that it could be the contamination of the blood as the bacteria in the mouth finds its way into the bloodstream via bleeding gums. The discoveries are being presented at the General Microbiology Society’s meeting.
A study was done in Scotland that includes over 11,000 people found that those who didn’t brush their teeth twice daily were at a greater risk of having heart disease than those that did. The findings supported the suggested link though researchers still stress the need for further studies and analysis on the nature of the relationship.
Poor oral health may increase the chances of developing blood sugar problems, especially diabetes. The bacteria may affect the body’s ability to control sugar levels in the blood leading to diabetes. Research on this issues shows that periodontal disease negatively impacts a person’s metabolism that this distorts the production of insulin resulting in pre-diabetes.
Also, it is hard for a diabetic to effectively manage the condition if they have poor oral health and hygiene. The infections associated with the gum disease cause a spike in blood glucose levels and this triggers the body to produce more insulin.
Low birth-weight babies
The birth of babies with a low weight is another concern linked to the gum disease. According to findings on the effects of oral infection during the show, it causes swelling or inflammations and these can cause complications during pregnancy or delivery. It can have the baby born with a low weight or a preterm birth. Moreover, the body may start a natural response to the inflammation producing inflammatory chemicals that may cause the amniotic sac to rupture. A research was done that estimate around 15% of cases of premature births were associated with the periodontal disease affecting the amniotic fluid and sac.
Oral cancer which is ranked as the sixth deadliest cancer in the world is yet another big health issue associated with gum disease and poor oral health. Over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed yearly, and around 40% of these result in death. According to statistics, a person battle with this cancer dies ever hour; this makes it deadlier than skin, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, thyroid, and cervical cancers.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Periodontal Disease?
At detection and treatment is the key to preventing gum disease and related oral problems. According to recent studies, 90% of cases of oral cancer are treatable when detected during their onset. Hence, the importance of going for regular dental health check-ups.
Straight and well-aligned teeth are easier to clean have formed a more robust defense against the build-up of bacteria and dental problems. Such is the reason for the Invisalign we provide at our office; to help straighten and align your teeth.
On another note, you can take the following steps to prevent gum disease:
- Brush and floss your teeth daily, at least twice before bed and in the morning.
- Rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash; it lowers the risk of plaque
- Go for regular dental check-ups