Periodontal Disease - Part1
A recent literature review article has showed the strong connection between gum infection (periodontal disease) to other systemic diseases. In this newsletter, I will help to explain some common links between patients’ bleeding gums to their overall health.
Periodontal Disease is the infection of the gum, teeth, and bone that surround teeth. Current estimates show that 75% of North American population has some form of gum infection 1. Normally these are a low-grade chronic infection, which does not show any signs and symptoms besides occasionally bleeding on the gums and teeth while brushing and flossing. Due to lack of symptoms, gum infection is usually undiagnosed or untreated.
Chronic inflammation response of the gum and bone surrounding the teeth cause the total body inflammation response to increase overall. This heightened inflammatory response contributes directly to worsening of systemic diseases which are caused by inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and pneumonia.
Inflammation factors from the gum also causes dislodging of fatty deposits in the blood vessel. These dislodged fatty deposits will travel through the blood system, which could block a blood vessel at the heart causing a heart attack or block a blood vessel in the brain causing a stroke.
Periodontal Disease and Alzheimer's disease
There is evidence that periodontal disease may be a risk factor for dementia through the bacterial and viral infections commonly found in periodontal disease. Oral infection can either directly or through systemic signals to the brain contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.2
Periodontal Disease and Cancer
Periodontal Disease also has a strong link to several type of cancer such as oral cancer, Upper GI and gastric cancers, Pancreatic Cancer, Lung cancer, and Esophageal cancer.3
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
The association between diabetes and inflammatory periodontal diseases has been studied extensively for more than 50 years. Large evidence research shows that diabetes is associated with the increase in gum infection. Also periodontal disease can also adversely affect the metabolic control of diabetes. Patients with diabetes who have periodontal disease have two chronic conditions, each of which may affect the other, and both of which require frequent professional evaluations by health care providers.4
Periodontal Disease and Premature Birth
The oral cavity works as a continuous source of infectious agents, and its condition often reflects progression of systemic pathologies. Periodontal infection happens to serve as a bacterial reservoir that may exacerbate systemic diseases. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labor and low-birth-weight babies.5
The common links of all these systemic diseases to gum infection are bacteria in the blood and inflammation factors that produce by-chromic infection on the gum and teeth. The consequences of untreated gum infection often time would lead to serious health implications and the loss of multiple teeth. Scheduling a periodontal evaluation with your dentist is the first step to fight this silent deadly disease.
To Be Continued In Next Newsletter...