What is Periodontal Disease ?

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Do you know why holistic approach is the best way to maintain good health? It is because every part of the human body is interrelated. A recent study shows that periodontal disease is 40% more likely connected to chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. Needless to say, visiting the dentist at least every six months is not only beneficial in maintaining a radiant smile but also lessens the risk of getting some chronic diseases.

It is easy to understand that good oral hygiene makes your breath fresh, keeps gum diseases away and prevents early tooth loss. What most people do not realize is that a healthy mouth contributes to overall health. Healthy gums and teeth break down the food that you eat before it goes inside the body and gets processed further by different organs. What you put in your mouth nourishes the body and contributes to its state. If one has gum disease, the bacteria accumulated in the mouth will go inside the body and affect other organs by simply chewing and processing the food that you eat. This will eventually contribute to the progression of diabetes, osteoporosis or heart disease, to name a few.

periodontal disease

So every time you brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash, think of it not only as part of making yourself look good, feel more confident or vanity but also preventing or minimizing the risks of developing chronic diseases.

Osteoporosis-Periodontal Disease Connection

Osteoporosis is common in older people. As one grows older, the body slows down in producing new bone. This results to loss of bone density and thinning of bone tissue. Both men and women may be affected by this, especially when the estrogen (for women) and testosterone (for men) levels start to drop.

Since periodontal disease can lead to bone loss too, it can be easily connected to osteoporosis. When you have loose tooth, it may be a sign of osteoporosis. If this is the case, it is not enough to treat periodontal disease. You must be checked for osteoporosis too so you can take preventive measures and get treated accordingly.

Diabetes-Periodontal Disease Connection

Currently, there are about 10 to 12 million Americans affected with diabetes. Diabetes slows down circulation and lowers the body’s resistance to infection. Because it is incurable, extreme caution and care must be done to manage the disease. The key to minimizing complications from diabetes is good management. When a diabetic’s blood sugar level is poorly managed, this can result to frequent recurrence of periodontal disease and may lead to stroke and heart disease.

Gum disease makes it easy for bacteria to accumulate in the mouth and eventually affect the rest of the body. Because a diabetic has lower resistance to infection, immediate treatment is needed for the gum disease. Maintaining good oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing plus regular visits to the dentist can help in managing diabetes and decreasing risk for infection. It is important to keep the mouth clean to avoid sugar from accumulating which can result for harmful bacteria to colonize beneath the gum line and cause periodontal disease. It is also important to stop smoking to minimize the recurrence of gum disease and help manage your diabetes better.

Periodontal Disease-Stroke and Heart Disease Connection

When plaque builds up in the walls of coronary arteries, it can restrict that flow of oxygen to the heart and constrict the flow of blood. This may cause chest pain, difficulty in breathing and even heart attack. A stroke, on the other hand, happens when the blood flowing to the brain stopped suddenly because of clot or blocked arteries. Since the mouth contains harmful bacteria when you have periodontal disease, it can easily enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaque in the arteries causing blockage or blot clot due to inflammation.

Maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent or minimize the occurrence of periodontal disease and therefore help in improving heart health.

Periodontal Disease-Respiratory Disease Connection

If you have lung problem, experiencing difficulty in breathing or always catching pneumonia, you may want to have your gums checked for periodontal disease. When the body’s immune system is weak, it is easy for the bacteria caused by gum disease to irritate the lungs and aggravate lung conditions. Bacteria can easily colonize in diseased gums and when the bacteria reached the lungs, it can be affected too. See your dentist regularly to prevent respiratory problems caused by periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease-Pregnancy Connection

Pregnancy is not a disease but it causes hormonal changes that affect oral health. When you are pregnant, you are prone to gum inflammation, gingivitis and other periodontal disease. This can cause preeclampsia, low birth weight for the baby or premature birth. It is easy for bacteria to accumulate in the diseased gum which can then be easily transported through the bloodstream and affect the baby and mother’s health. The bacteria can reach the mammary glands and coronary arteries and may cause complications as well.

Since a pregnant woman cannot just pop a pill for pain, taking medication if necessary must be monitored closely by the doctor. If you develop periodontal disease while pregnant consult with your dentist immediately to get proper care. Maintaining good oral hygiene will be very helpful in coping with the hormonal changes that you are going through so brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly.

Does Antibiotic Therapy for Gum Disease Work?

Many patients have gum/ periodontal problems but not show any hygiene problems.  At Midtown Dentistry, we know that these patients maintain proper oral hygiene but are suffering from other issues such as systemic diseases like diabetes or poor oral habits like smoking.

These problems bring about an altered immune response to the presence of oral micro-organisms like bacteria. In such cases, low dose antibiotic therapy with Doxycycline(Periostat™) can prove to be a very useful line of treatment.

After periodontal therapy, many times, our periodontist may advise the use of oral or topical antibiotics. Currently,  research is being done on the use of topical antibiotics as an alternative to periodontal surgery.

One of the examples of such topically used antibiotics is Periostat, which is a treatment procedure employing the use of low doses of Doxycycline. We are now using it with excellent results.

Low-dose Doxycycline therapy requires you to continue with the effective use of oral hygiene measures and routine appointments for scaling every month for about three months.

Following this therapy, it has been observed that the gums reach a very healthy state, and there are very few signs if any of gum inflammation.

Once healthy changes are seen, low-dose doxycycline therapy is brought to an end. You then return to your dentists for regular check-ups.

There are still doubts whether the use of low-dose doxycycline therapy might lead to the development of resistance in one or more bacterial forms or any other systemic complications.

But what works in favor of this therapy is the fact that the dosage of the drug used is very low, and as such, the chances of it having any effect on bacteria or any other micro-organism are very low.

There are also a few studies that have been conducted according to which the use of a common anti-inflammatory drug can add to the effects and help produce better results.

Low-dose doxycycline therapy is an excellent alternative to periodontal surgery, and the results seen until now are believed to be very promising.

 So we ask, can fish oil help periodontal disease?

Fish oil effectively improves inflammation and pain, as well as breaking down clots in the arteries. It also improves brain functions, and can even lower blood pressure. It has many benefits, which range from being a ‘brain food’ for those suffering ADHD or depression, to those who suffer from psoriasis and diabetes.

Because of the many benefits of fish oil, it actually won’t hurt if you begin taking fish oil supplements if you have periodontal problems. It would effectively help in reducing the swelling of your gums, as well as keeping the tissues around the teeth healthier. Aside from taking it to reduce periodontal symptoms, you can also get to gain its other benefits for other health issues.

Taking fish oil or eating more fish might help if you have periodontal disease, but don’t slack when it comes to your oral hygiene. A poor oral hygiene would only worsen teeth and gum problems, and can even cause you your tooth. Keeping your mouth clean and healthy also helps in warding off painful gum swelling and bleeding. Always ensure that you brush your teeth regularly, and floss after every meal. If it’s not possible, chew on some sugarless gum until you can brush your teeth. Also have your teeth and gums checked regularly by your dentist to prevent any further problems with regard to periodontal diseases.

What is Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery?

Cosmetic periodontal surgery is about making your teeth and gums look better and give you a radiant smile. If you have unsightly teeth, receding gums, or gummy smile and looking for ways to improve your smile, you can significantly benefit from this procedure. This type of surgery is not only for vanity’s sake but, more so, a healthy option to avoid gum recession and preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

If you have short teeth, cosmetic periodontal surgery can be used to lengthen them, but this does not mean that your teeth are the correct size.

To make the tooth look longer, your dentist can perform the crown lengthening procedure. During the procedure, the bone tissue and gum are reshaped to reveal a more significant part of the tooth, making your smile look better and evener.

If it is receding gum that is bothering you, the right cosmetic periodontal surgical procedure is called soft tissue graft. When the gum starts decreasing, the roots are exposed to bacteria and elements that can lead to decay. When not treated properly, this can weaken the roots and lead to tooth loss. The soft tissue graft is beneficial because it is done to cover the tooth roots. As a result, this will lessen gum recession, shield the roots from elements that can cause decay and prevent early tooth loss.

Another condition that can benefit from cosmetic periodontal surgery is when there is a missing tooth. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone will eventually recede and affect the indentation of gums and jaw. Because there is no ample bone support, this will make your jaw look unnatural, and your face looks older.

Bone grafting is necessary to preserve the ridge or socket and jaw bone structure and will also minimize gum receding and bone loss. Bone grafting will also help aesthetic tooth replacement like a fixed bridge or implant crown. To know whether you are the right candidate for cosmetic periodontal surgery, look for a periodontist to make a full evaluation of your condition. Discuss your options not only about the best procedures to have but also financing and insurance coverage. Don’t forget to ask for pre-operative and post-operative requirements so you can fit it in your schedule, and there won’t be any delay in the healing process.  Soon enough, you will be more confident to face the world as you will be flashing a more radiant smile.

 

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