UMKC Dental Faculty Practice Gum Disease Anne

The Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease:

• Bleeding gums after brushing your teeth 
• Blood on your floss after flossing 
• Aching, inflamed or swollen gum tissue 
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth 
• Tooth roots becoming exposed 
• Chronic offensive breath (halitosis) 
• Pus or white film at the gum line 
• Sharp pain when you chew or bite on something 
• Recent change in your bite 
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth 
• Food getting lodged up in your gums

Periodontal disease, often called gum disease, is an insidious infection caused by about 500 varieties of microscopic organisms in your mouth that have also been proven to assault your body’s vital systems (heart and circulatory, digestive, lungs, kidneys and liver, plus joints and connective tissue).

According to published statistics, more than 60 million Americans have symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, a chronic bacterial infection that attacks your gums and the bone that supports the teeth. As gum disease continues unchecked, waste products from the bacteria slowly destroy the gum tissue. Eventually, the bacteria break through and enter your bloodstream. The bacteria and their by-products cause an inflammatory response all over your body. For “at risk” patients, this added burden might be the element with a complicating effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.

Other studies show that treatment for numerous illnesses especially heart failure, pulmonary disease such as emphysema or COPD, diabetes, orthopedic replacement, kidney disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy may be diminished by germs from periodontal disease.

UMKC Dental Faculty Practice Periodontal Illustration 3

Doctors Are Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Stop Heart Disease 

When you visit UMKC Dental Faculty Practice’ hygienists to guard against gum disease, you are decreasing your chances for developing cardiovascular problems. 

It’s been discovered that the way that gum disease affects your heart is that periodontal disease fires off a series of chemical events that cause an inflammatory response throughout the body. When plaque lining the arteries causes the arteries to become inflamed, blood clots can form, putting you at danger for heart attack or stroke. Add to that, periodontal bacteria may also adhere to the inner heart lining, thereby causing infective endocarditis.

Since the year, 2000, recurring studies have concluded that there is a definite association between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One result of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. After the gums have been diseased long-term, your teeth usually start falling out.

Researchers in Finland looked at the correlation between the number of missing teeth in a person and the rate of diagnosed heart disease in the group. They looked at over 1300 men aged 45 to 64 years. Their research revealed that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from ongoing gum disease also had a higher incidence of heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease raises the danger of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the likelihood of having a stroke by 1000%.

With Gum Disease, Every Breath Could Be Dangerous To Your Lungs

Oral bacteria occupying your infected gum tissue will also find their way into the saliva. When you take a breath, your saliva is taken into the air in little droplets to help moisten your lung tissue. To see this for yourself, hold a small makeup mirror close to your lips and then lightly breathe on it. The mirror will fog up a little. Now, imagine those little droplets are pulled into your lungs where they deposit their bacterial hitchhikers.

Here, the germs can set up camp and cause irritation and inflammation that leads to another case of pulmonary disease including pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Even worse, should the person be currently ill with any of these diseases, the periodontal germs can hinder the success of your prescribed treatment and medication.

Periodontal Disease Now Shown To Bring On Diabetes

Elevated viral and bacterial infections bring about an increase in the human body’s resistance to insulin, which messes with your blood sugar control. For those with diabetes, increasing infection makes insulin resistance worse and significantly worsens the diabetic’s ability to keep blood sugar levels in balance. Gum disease and diabetes are entangled with each other. Anyone with diabetes should look into having a thorough oral health examination. Of course, the same advice goes to those with periodontal disease. If you have periodontitis, you need to keep a sharp lookout for diabetes.

Did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association has announced that periodontitis causes diabetes.
• Inflammatory chemicals caused by periodontal disease invade the bloodstream and increase insulin resistance.
• Family members with periodontal disease are 200% more likely to have insulin resistance.
• When Type II diabetics also have elevated gum disease, they are seven times more likely to die.

What This All Means To Dentists

Previously, dentists focused on saving your teeth with regular cleanings. Today, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, you are more at risk for more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Today, as we take care of your mouth, we aren’t just saving your teeth, which in itself is an admirable objective, we could also be protecting your life as well.

We conclude, “It is not enough anymore to just be aware of suspicious spots in the gum tissue. Instead, attacking gum disease aggressively will become a top priority for maintaining, and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. To be exact, our patients will not be totally healthy unless they are periodontally healthy.”