Recent research has revealed gum disease may represent a far more serious threat to the health of millions of Americans than previously realized. These studies found that periodontal (gum) infection may contribute to the development of heart disease (the nation’s number one cause of death), increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes, respiratory diseases and smokers.
Heart & Periodontal Disease
Because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. The heart is one of the most susceptible organs. Heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) affects more than 60 million Americans. It is the leading cause of death in the United States. Yet many types of heart disease may be prevented. Taking care of your periodontal health may be one important step toward prevention, along with controlling the well-known risk factors for heart disease.
Women & Gum Disease
As a woman, you need to take extra care of yourself at specific times in your life. Times when you mature and change, for example, puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy. Did you know that your oral health needs change at these times too?
During these particular times, your body experiences hormonal changes. These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body, including your gums. Your gums can become sensitive, and at times react strongly to the hormonal fluctuations. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease.
Diabetes & Gum Disease
People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.
Respiratory & Periodontal Disease
Numerous respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are often health problems for people who smoke, the elderly, or people who have suppressed immune systems.
Infections of the mouth, including periodontal disease, can also place you at increased risk for respiratory disease. Current research is determining the mechanism for specific organisms involved. If you are at risk for respiratory infection, then control of periodontal disease can make a difference!
Tobacco & Gum Disease
As you probably already know, tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. What you may not know is tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease.
In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Whether you smoke, dip or chew tobacco, you are more likely to have periodontal disease – and to have it more severely – than those who do not use any form of tobacco.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment Oral Hygiene
The best way to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay — and keep your teeth for a lifetime — is good oral health care. That is, through brushing, flossing and regular dental visits that include a periodontal evaluation. Brushing and flossing remove a thin sticky film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. This sticky film, called plaque, is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Scaling and Root Planing (Tissue Preparation)
Periodontal scaling is a treatment procedure involving instrumentation of the crown and root surfaces of the teeth to remove plaque, calculus, and stains from these surfaces. It is performed on patients with periodontal disease and is therapeutic, not prophylactic, in nature.
Periodontal scaling may precede root planing, which is a definitive, meticulous treatment procedure designed to remove cementum and/or dentin that is rough, may be permeated by calculus, or contaminated with toxins or microorganisms. This procedure is used in some stages of periodontal disease and is part of pre-surgical therapy (“tissue preparation”) in others.
Additional periodontal surgical procedures are routinely performed to address your individual needs.