What is Periodontal Disease (Gingivitis / Periodontists)?

What is Periodontal Disease (Gingivitis / Periodontists)?

Periodontal disease, also known as “gum disease” is a destructive illness of the mouth.

It has two stages that can occur at the same time or individually:

  • Gingivitis (infection of the gum)
  • Periodontitis (infection of the bone, ligaments and soft tissue)

Who can get Periodontal “Gum” Disease?

Anyone can get Periodontal Disease and the gums do not have to hurt for it to be present. It is a disease that can be transferred through saliva (spit) and can be passed on to a loved one by kissing or sharing the same glass. Proper oral hygiene and regular Recare Exams will help control and eliminate the risk of Periodontal Disease.

What are the risk factors for Periodontal “Gum” Disease?

There are several risks factors for Periodontal Disease:

  • Uncontrolled Diabetes
  • Tobacco use habit (smoke or smokeless)
  • Strength of the disease (bacteria)
  • Poor oral hygiene

Signs and Stages of Periodontal “Gum” Disease

There are several signs and symptoms based on the severity of the gum disease

  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Infection
  • Salty or bad taste in the mouth
  • There may or may not be pain
  • Bad breath (halitosis)

However, left unchecked, gum disease can also have much more serious and far-reaching effects.

 

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How do you treat Periodontal Disease?

The stage of active disease is assessed and the appropriate treatment is selected for the patient.

  • Active Periodontal (Gum) Therapy is initiated to slow or stop the active Periodontal Disease. Medications may be used (antibacterial rinse or pill).
  • Gum Disease Evaluation is completed 2 to 3 months later to determine gum response to the therapy.
  • Regular Periodontal Therapy appointments (3/4/6 month interval) are planned.
  • Regular Recare (“Checkup”) Exam along with regular Periodontal Therapy.

 

The Link between Periodontal Disease and Health

Periodontal disease is not something that can be overlooked. Although you might tell yourself that this condition would only have a negative effect on your oral health, the reality is that all of the systems in our bodies are connected. If left untreated, periodontal disease can actually have a very serious negative effect on many other systems within your body.

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Diabetes, and its Link to Gum Disease (Periodontitis / Gingivitis)

There is a strong link between periodontal disease and diabetes. In fact, the connection is so deep that it runs in both directions. People with diabetes are very prone to gum disease. This is one of the areas of their health which they must keep a very close eye on after contracting diabetes.

However, severe periodontal disease can also be a risk factor for developing diabetes. The problem is that severe cases can lead to periods of higher than normal blood sugar. This is one of the factors that creates diabetes if it is recurring over long periods of time. On the other hand, if a person is already diabetic, severe gum disease can also make it more difficult for them to manage their blood sugar levels safely.

Heart Disease and Stroke, and its Link to Gum Disease (Periodontitis / Gingivitis)

Diabetes isn’t the only life threatening disease which ties to gum disease. The link between these two conditions is even stronger, and actually quite alarming. One study found that people with severe gum disease were as much as twice as likely to develop heart disease.

Doctors and dentists are still learning more about what causes the link between periodontics illnesses and heart disease. However, the root causes is likely linked to inflammation. Gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth. When the body has a bacterial infection, it gets inflamed as part of its natural defense mechanism. However, prolonged inflammation is linked very clearly to heart disease.

There is still a great deal more to be learned about how gum disease and heart disease and diabetes connect to one another, but this much is clear: there is a connection. Maintaining good overall oral health is certainly important for a healthy, long life.

Other Health Conditions, , and its Link to Gum Disease (Periodontitis / Gingivitis)

There are other medical health conditions that are being linked to gum disease which include:

  • Arthritis
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Pre-Term Low Birth Weight babies
  • Increase risk of pancreatic and kidney cancer
  • Increase risk of head and neck cancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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