Archive for the ‘Gum Disease’ Category
Gum Disease and Your Health: Part three of three
Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 09:47 Written by Dental Education Blog Monday, 15 August 2011 09:37
In the first two blogs regarding gum disease we learned the negative effects of gum disease, their symptoms, and treatments. By now you should realize the threat it poses to your health. Beyond the negative hazards gum disease creates for your teeth it has also been linked to many other serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and pregnancy problems. About 75% Americans have some form of gum disease so it is important to be aware that in can moderate to life threatening effects on your overall health.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
As gum disease creates bacteria in one’s mouth, this bacteria enters the blood stream and attaches to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries and contributes to clot formation. Over time the blood clots will obstruct normal blood flow restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to work properly. This may lead to heart attacks.
Research has shown that people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as those without gum disease. There is even research suggesting that gum disease is also a contributor to strokes as stroke victims were found to have the oral infection associated with gum disease.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Studies show that diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. This is due in part because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections, and gum disease is another chronic infection that can affect the body’s ability to heal. Many diabetics diagnosed with gum disease that have been treated have found that their blood sugar becomes much easier to regulate. Gum disease is twice as likely to occur in people with diabetes and is consider the sixth complication of diabetes according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
Gum Disease and Respiratory Disease
Research has shown that bacteria that grows in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lung to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease. This discovery leads scientists to believe that these respiratory bacteria can travel from the oral cavity into the lungs to cause infection.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy Problems
Expectant mothers with gum disease are seven times more likely to have a premature and low-birth-weight baby. Because the bacteria and toxins from periodontal disease enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation they can induce pregnancy. It is advised that expectant mothers or women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should have a thorough oral exam.
Gum Disease Prevention
Preventing the onset of gum disease is the best way to avoid it leading to other more damaging diseases such as the ones mentioned above. In addition to properly brushing and flossing daily, biannual professional check-ups and cleanings are recommended for everyone unless your dentist directs otherwise. This will help detect, prevent, and treat periodontal disease and the other health complications that go along with it.
In addition to these measures avoiding smoking, stress, poor diet, and certain medications can help prevent gum disease. Ask your dentist what other preventive measures you can take to avoid this all too common disease.
Gum Disease Treatment: Part Two of Three
Last Updated on Monday, 29 August 2011 05:43 Written by Dental Education Blog Thursday, 11 August 2011 09:27
We recently learned in part one of the series on gum disease the causes of gum disease, the types of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis), and the symptoms. For part two we will inform you about the various treatments of gum disease. The goal of treating gum disease is to control the infection that can lead to tooth loss and even more serious diseases. Treatment will depend greatly on the extent of gum disease as will the type and number of times the patient will have to see their dentist or periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontists have undergone extensive training in these areas, including an additional three years of education beyond dental school.
You will find comfort in knowing that most dentists treat gum disease in the least invasive and most cost-effective manners possible. Most cases of gum disease that have not escalated to severe levels are treated through the use of scaling and root planing. In this type of treatment your dentist or periodontist will conduct a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets and smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. This is followed by adjunctive therapy such as medications that control bacteria and reduce the size of the periodontal pockets. These can be in pill or mouthwash form or placed directly in the pockets of your gums. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, more invasive surgical treatments may be necessary.
Surgical treatments are performed only if your dentist deems that non-surgical treatments cannot repair the tissue around your teeth. There are three common types of surgical treatment including: pocket reduction procedures, regenerative procedures, and soft tissue grafts.
Pocket Reduction- This procedure involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. The gums are then sutured back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again.
Regenerative Procedures- These procedures are an attempt to regenerate lost bone and tissue surrounding your teeth. They involve folding back the gum tissue and removing the disease-causing bacteria.
Soft Tissue Grafts- Grafting is a way to replace or encourage new growth of bone or gum tissue destroyed by periodontitis.
Stay tuned for our final part of the three part series where we discuss the connection between gum disease and their link to serious diseases such as diabetes, pregnancy problems, heart problems and more.
Gum Disease and Gum Care: Part One of Three
Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 09:27 Written by Dental Education Blog Tuesday, 9 August 2011 09:27
Gum Disease and the Causes
As part of our goal to bring you the latest information in dental hygiene and oral health care we are presenting a three-part series on gum disease and gum care. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is caused by the hardening of plaque on our teeth due to improper cleaning through routine at-home dental care and professional cleanings. Plaque is composed of bacteria that hardens on teeth and eventually turns into tartar that brushing alone cannot clean. The problem is very common and can cause issues such as gum inflammation to serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, pregnancy problems as well as tooth loss.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis- Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. It is caused by the prolonged staying power of bacteria on our teeth that is not removed. This bacteria causes inflammation of the gums and causes them to become red, swollen and bleed easily. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene and often goes unnoticed because many people may not experience pain or discomfort at this stage.
Periodontitis- When gingivitis goes untreated it can lead to periodontitis. This occurs when the plaque spreads below the gum line and the toxins contained begin to irritate the gums. This causes the body’s immune system to react in such a way that it turns on itself and can cause the bone that support the teeth to be broken down and destroyed. When this occurs the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. Eventually this can lead to teeth that become loose and will have to be removed. This often results in the need of dental implants or dentures.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist so that they can perform an evaluation.
- Persistent Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Tune in for the second of the three part series when we discuss Gum Disease Treatment.