No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

Scraping Below The Surface Of Periodontal Disease

by Jeremiah Barnett

It is estimated that around half of Americans have periodontal disease, often called gum disease, and that this seemingly-benign condition could lead to much more serious medical issues. Studies attempt to show if there is a link between gum disease and other medical maladies, or if it is merely a coincidence that these are co-occurring. Regardless of any correlation, periodontal disease is not to be taken lightly.

Those at highest risk for periodontal disease include:

  • Smokers
  • Those taking prescription medications
  • Individuals with crooked teeth or ill-fitting dentures
  • People with old fillings
  • Pregnant women
  • Oral cancer patients

Coincidence or not? People with periodontal disease often develop other health problems, including:

Mood swings. Periodontal disease often is accompanied by mouth pain and discomfort, which can lead to depression. Those with advanced symptoms, such as tooth loss, may find that they begin to isolate and become more withdrawn. This condition impacts mood, which may manifest in behavioral changes.

Blood-sugar issues. It is compelling how diabetics with periodontal disease have more difficulty controlling their blood-sugar. This can cause diabetic symptoms to emerge and lead to complications, including infection.

Heart disease. Dental plaque along the gum-line can cause issues with your heart, too. With uncontrolled gum disease, there runs a risk of plaque breaking free and entering the blood, which could clog or block vital blood-flow to the heart.

Stroke. Plaque poses the same hazards when it comes to blood and oxygen flow to the brain. When something interferes or blocks passage to the brain, a stroke occurs. Plaque can break away from the teeth and gums, and when swallowed, it could end up in an artery or vein.

Pregnancy risks. Further research seeks to show that women with periodontal disease run a greater risk of preterm babies and low-weight births.

Keep yourself safe from the potential risks of periodontal disease; see your dental provider at least every six-months for routine examinations and cleanings. Brush at least twice a day and rinse your mouth after eating or drinking to help prevent tartar build-up and plaque.

Know the signs of advancing periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding during brushing teeth
  • Gaps emerging between teeth
  • Mouth pain
  • Swollen, tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Sores in your mouth

While the speculation is compelling, more research and studies are needed to clarify the connection between gum disease and other, serious medical conditions. In the meanwhile, take care of your teeth and prevent plaque from compromising your teeth, your health, and your smile. For more information, contact companies like Pine Lake Dental Group.