Periodontal (gum) disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults, with 80% of adults having some form of periodontal problem. It is often painless and most adults are unaware that they have a problem. Dental hygienists are trained to treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease, by evaluating and assessing your periodontal tissues, scaling and polishing of teeth and giving home care instructions based on individual needs.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. Researchers found diseased gums released significantly higher levels of bacterial pro-inflammatory components, such as endotoxins, into the bloodstream in patients with severe periodontal disease compared to healthy patients. As a result, these harmful bacterial components in the blood could travel to other organs in the body, such as the heart, and cause harm.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting periodontal disease. And periodontal disease, in turn, may make diabetes worse. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar. This may result in increased diabetic complications.
Oral Health and Smoking
Smoking damages your gum tissue by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. It appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease. Blood flow to the gums is also restricted, which may affect wound healing.
Periodontal Disease and Problems in Pregnancy
Studies have shown that pregnant women who have periodontal disease have increased risk of having a baby that is born too early and too small. It appears that periodontal disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labour. If you are thinking about getting pregnant or are already pregnant and concerned about your oral health, make an appointment for a check-up and cleaning with your dentist just to be sure that you don't have periodontal disease.
Protecting Children’s Oral Health
Many people think of periodontal disease as an adult problem. However, studies indicate that nearly all children and adolescents have gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, if it is left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.