Did you know that your general health is closely linked to your gum health? It’s true. In fact, periodontal disease has been linked to various systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Many patients with systemic diseases have noticed an improvement in their overall health after managing their gum health.
Learn more about periodontal disease and its connection with systemic diseases below. As always, contact My McLean Dentist for more information.
What is Periodontal Disease?
In short, periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease. It causes the gums to swell, bleed, and recede resulting in eventual tooth loss. The disease begins with signs of gingivitis, which is mild gum redness and bleeding. Left untreated, it progresses to the disease which requires urgent treatment to avoid further damage.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding Gums
- Receding Gums
- Red Swollen Gums
- Bad Breath
- Loose Teeth
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
While some patients may be more prone to the disease than others due to genetic factors, periodontal disease is mainly associated with poor dental hygiene. The accumulation of plaque and tartar not only affects teeth but gums as well. Plaque is a sticky film that develops on teeth. It later hardens into tartar. With routine brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings, teeth and gums are protected against the build-up and periodontal disease. The body’s immune response to the biofilm that’s on one’s teeth is what causes loss of gum/bone around teeth. Some patients have an immune system that has an exaggerated response to the biofilm, thus creating more inflammation and destruction of tissues.
It is important to note that certain medications, family-related diseases, hormonal changes, and tobacco use can also cause the disease. For this reason, visiting your dentist as recommended is always essential to protect your health.
Why is Dental Care Important?
Proper dental care is important for every person, regardless of age. It begins with at-home care. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. This helps remove plaque build-up. Also, visit the dentist for your routine exams and cleanings. Exams help detect issues early on, such as gingivitis. In addition, cleanings effectively remove plaque and tartar. Lastly, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
As mentioned earlier, poor dental care can result in periodontal disease. However, the disease not only affects your smile, but it has also been linked to various diseases. Those include the following.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Premature and Low Birth Weight Infants
- Head and Neck Cancer
- Respiratory Issues
- Memory Loss
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Kidney Disease
Recent studies and ongoing research shows that patients who had the disease along with an associated health issue saw improvement after the gum disease was managed. For example, those with diabetes can maintain their sugar levels with improved dental care.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Treatment varies as each case is different. In general, scaling and root planing may be an option. This entails a deep teeth cleaning which includes removing plaque and tartar from below the gumline. Other cases may require gum pocket reduction, medication, and prescribed oral rinse solutions.
Protecting your smile requires a customized approach. Learn more about your dental health and how to improve it with My McLean Dentist. We offer an array of dental services to assist patients of all ages. Call 703-356-4822 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to meeting you!