Part 3: Symptoms and Treatment Options. Have you been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease? You're not alone. Recent studies show that the majority of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease can range from mild gum inflammation to a serious infection leading to bone damage and eventual tooth loss. Diagnosis and treating the disease early can help prevent tooth loss. Are there any symptoms? Periodontal disease often does not have any clear symptoms associated with it. This is why regular dental cleanings and exams are so important. There are, however, some warning signs that can help signal if gum disease is present: - Gums that bleed when you brush or floss, - Red, swollen, or tender gums, - Gums that have pulled away from your teeth, - Constant bad breath, - Loose or separating teeth or a change in how your bite feels. How is periodontal disease diagnosed? Your dentist or hygienist will examine your gums during your regular dental cleanings and check-ups. A periodontal probe will gently be placed around each tooth to measure the depth of the gum pockets that exists around each tooth. Healthy gums usually have a measurement of 3 millimeters or less with no bleeding. A bleeding pocket and/or one that measures greater than 3 millimeters may indicate disease. Dental x-rays also help identify the disease by showing the amount of bone supporting the teeth. If bone loss is present; periodontal disease may be the cause. How is periodontal disease treated? Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. In most cases, the first step is a special cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). This step involves cleaning the tooth's root [...]
Part 2: The links between Gum Disease, Diabetes, and other Diseases. Diabetes: Gum disease is an infection of your gums and bone. Similar to any infection, gum disease can make it difficult for a person with diabetes to control their blood sugar. In addition, gum disease can increase blood sugar, thereby adding to the increased periods of time when the body functions with a higher blood sugar. This puts the diabetic patient at greater risk of complications. Stroke: A relationship between gum disease and stroke has been reported by several studies. People who had experienced a stroke where nearly twice as likely to have gum disease when compared to people who have not had a stroke. Osteoporosis: Research is also showing a relationship between gum disease and Osteoporosis. The studies indicate a more rapid loss of teeth due to a decreased bone density caused by the Osteoporosis coupled with a gum and bone infection caused by periodontal disease. Respiratory Disease: Recent studies have found oral bacteria being aspirated into the lungs causing a variety of respiratory diseases, including pneumonia. Cancer: A strong link has been reported between severe gum disease in men and a much higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. Other studies have also suggested that an increased risk of lung, kidney, and blood cancers exists even in the presence of moderate gum disease. Good oral health is important for good overall health!
Part 1: Gum Disease and Your Heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 6,000 lives will be lost this year from heart disease; more than any other disease in the U.S. Did you know that heart disease and oral health are related? Studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease to nearly twice that of a person without gum disease. While the link between gum disease and heart disease is not fully understood, one theory is that the bacteria from your gums enter your blood stream (do you have bleeding gums when you brush or floss?). Once in your blood stream, they attach to the walls of your blood vessels leading to an eventual clot and blockage, and may lead to a heart attack. Recent data from the CDC found that nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease! Later discussions of this topic will discuss gum disease as it relates to diabetes and other diseases, the signs and symptoms of gum disease, and treatment options. Good oral health is important for good overall health!
Bad Breath and Bleeding Gums are Often Signs of Gum Disease Gum disease is a chronic infection of your gums that is caused by bacteria in plaque and calculus (tartar). If this plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing, and the calculus not removed by a dental professional, the bacteria can build up in your mouth. Over time, this buildup can lead to inflammation, which in many cases can lead to bone loss, and hence periodontal disease. Heart Disease and Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) As your gum tissue is supplied with many blood vessels, it is a prime entry point for oral bacteria to reach the body’s circulatory system. Research over the last several years has shown a link between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and preterm births in certain individuals. So What's the "Good News"? The good news? Gum disease is preventable! Here are four simple steps to reduce the risk of gums disease and help stay health: Practice proper brushing (at least twice per day for a minimum of 2 minutes) and floss at least once per day. Limit snacking between meals to avoid food buildup. Visit your dentist regularly for routine exams and preventative treatment. Never wait until you are in pain to see a dentist. If you have tender or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, pus between the gums, loose or separating teeth or a bitter taste in your mouth, see your dentist right away!