When discussing my patient’s dental health needs, it has become apparent that many people do not realize that there is a definite link between their health or lack of it, and the health of their teeth and gums.
We’ll go through 3 major health issues associated with Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a complex disease that starts with the accumulation of plaque and bacteria around your teeth. If left untreated a patient will show symptoms ranging from gingivitis, swollen and bleeding gum tissue, bone loss and lose teeth. Research has shown that there is a connection between those having periodontal and three major health issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pre-term low birth weight of infants
The American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology have now set guidelines for the care of individuals who suffer from both heart disease and periodontal infection. Both the dentist and the physician should be aware of the issues in order to inform and support their patients in treating these concurrent problems.
There is no study that suggests that periodontal disease will cause heart disease, but there is enough evidence to show that it will defiantly complicate the symptoms of heart problems.
The bacterial infection, associated with periodontal disease, enter the blood stream through the small vessels around the teeth and then circulate throughout the entire body. With this window of entry, the bacteria can be found throughout the body from the heart to the tissue of the brain.
The body will then set up a response to fight off this invasion of bacteria and cause an entire systemic response that effects all parts of the body.
Because diabetes and periodontal disease are very destructive types of disease, those suffering from diabetes almost 100% of the time show signs of and symptoms of periodontal disease. It is important that the team of health care personal that treat the diabetic patient also include the dentist.
The diabetic, left untreated, will show advanced periodontal symptoms including bone loss and tooth mobility. The infection will become more advanced in the diabetic patient. The dental team should be aware of the patient’s condition and help to remind the diabetic patient to monitor their levels of glucose and that diet is maintained.
There is also evidence that shows potential link between periodontal disease and the effect on pregnancy. Again, bacteria associated with periodontal infection can cause early labor which results in lower birth weight Lower birth weight in turn is critical for infant health, survival, and systemic functions to develop normally.
Pregnant mothers should be encouraged to seek dental care to receive the proper treatment for their periodontal problems.
As you can clearly see the link between your health and condition of your teeth is real. Your dentist along with his team can help to ensure that your health will not be compromised due to un-diagnosed, un-treated periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process that adds complications to your existing medical condition. Early diagnosis and treatment are key elements in protecting ones health.
So, one can see that there is a strong connection between your teeth and the rest of your body. When your dentist insists that you need treatment for your periodontal condition, don’t dismiss it only as another cleaning, it can mean he is trying to save your life.