Periodontal Disease is Common and Serious

Periodontal Disease Picture

One of the most common diseases in the world is the infection and destruction of the gums and bone in the mouth known as gum disease, pyorrhea or periodontitis.  This disease affects millions of adults and can begin early in life.  Our mouth contains many different kinds of germs, and some are even beneficial in the digestion of our food.  Unfortunately, other germs can cause infection and disease around our teeth and gums if not removed regularly.  Tooth decay and periodontitis can be caused by these germs and both of these diseases will progress beyond our body’s ability to stop them.  This is a very important point.  Only regular dental treatment and therapy will halt the destruction of the teeth, gums and bone in our mouth.

Periodontal disease is destructive to our body.  Imagine a chronic infection of your skin that penetrates to the bone! That is what periodontitis can lead to.  If the teeth or gums are injured or infected an opening to germs is available for them to enter our jaw bone and bloodstream and cause problems in other areas of the body.  In one recent study, people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition as well.  The germs, or the inflammation caused by our body’s reaction to those germs, can put an extra burden on the immune system that normally keeps us healthy.

If you already have heart disease, diabetes or are pregnant, periodontitis will make it more difficult for the body to stay healthy.  Periodontal disease complicates diabetes, and up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis.  Other risk factors include smoking, being overweight and not enjoying a healthy diet.

As we age our gums naturally recede.  This opens areas between our teeth that collect food particles and the germs that eat them.  These germs then infect our gums and cause destructive cavities on the roots of our teeth.

For all of these reasons, it is important to have the teeth and gums cleaned at least every 6 months and patients with the above risk factors are encouraged to have cleanings every 4 months to catch problems as early as possible.  Many times, simple therapy is all that is needed to reverse or prevent further damage or referral to a specialist. Our office will help you maintain your teeth and gums at their healthiest with regular visits and care.