Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health Dec 29, 2021
When you brush your teeth, do your gums bleed? Perhaps they become red and sore from time to time, particularly after eating. If so, you may be among many people in the U.S. suffering from periodontal disease.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2 in 5 adults have developed some form of periodontal disease, which affects roughly 42% of adults 30 years or older. This disease can increase with age, which is why it’s essential to detect periodontal disease before it becomes a severe issue.
What is Periodontal Disease and How Does It Occur?
Periodontal disease occurs when plaque buildup irritates the gums, triggering inflammation. Symptoms can include redness and soreness of the gums, making it hard to chew food. Other symptoms – such as tenderness of the gum line and bad breath – could be warning signs of more serious problems. In its most severe form, periodontal disease can cause gum and bone tissue damage, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Changes in hormones (i.e., due to menopause or pregnancy)
Recreational drug use (i.e., smoking marijuana or vaping.)
Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
Medications that cause dry mouth or changes in the gums
Decreased immunity caused by things such as HIV/AIDS, leukemia, and cancer treatments
Diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (R.A.), and Crohn’s Disease
Periodontal Disease Can’t Be THAT Bad…Can It?
Periodontal disease can be far more severe when left undetected or untreated and can create more significant risks to your overall health. Examples could include:
Respiratory Infection Continuously inhaling bacteria caused by plaque buildup can lead to pneumonia.
Cardiovascular Disease Bacteria in the mouth could cause clotting issues in the cardiovascular system. Bacteria travel through the bloodstream, leading to various parts of the body. People with periodontitis are at greater risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, have increased risks of heart attacks, and are more likely to have a stroke.
Uncontrolled Diabetes Diabetes can affect the pocket environment (the areas where your gums connect over your teeth) in your mouth. Chronic periodontal disease can disrupt one’s ability to control diabetes. Type II Diabetics are three times as likely to develop issues. Studies have also shown that diabetic smokers can increase the risk of tooth loss by 20%.
Detection, Protection, Prevention
Though periodontal disease can be severe when undetected or untreated, there are ways to prevent it. Through early detection, protection, prevention, and dental hygiene upkeep, you can potentially reduce the damage caused by the disease or avoid it altogether. By doing the following, you can put yourself on the right track in promoting positive dental hygiene:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day Try to maintain two minutes of brushing per session.
Floss regularly Flossing before brushing your teeth will remove loose food particles and bacteria. Remember that flossing and brushing will help prevent an environment around your teeth that favors P.D. caused by specific bacteria.
Visit your dentist at least twice a month By doing so, your dentist can determine if you are at risk and can plan an appropriate routine for your overall dental health. Make sure to make an appointment sooner than later.