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Gum Disease and Your Overall Health

October 3, 2015

woman with a beautiful smile thanks to gum disease treatmentAs one of the most prevalent health issues in the US, some estimates indicate that periodontal (gum) disease affects 75% of adults. With staggering figures like those, it’s no surprise that dental practitioners are dedicated to helping patients prevent and treat gum disease.  In addition to raising the risk for tooth loss, uncontrolled gum disease is also related to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic and systemic illnesses. The good news is that gum disease is treatable by dental professionals.  For many patients, the subtle signs of periodontal disease go unnoticed until the advanced stages making it more difficult to treat with less desirable outcomes. To avoid the detrimental whole body health effects associated with gum disease, Dr. James G. Mace employs dental hygienists, screens all of his patients annually for gum disease and works closely with a gum specialist (a periodontist) for cases that are more advanced.

Gum Disease and Whole Body Health

The prevalence of gum disease in US adults is alarming for many reasons, but some of the related systemic and chronic illnesses may come as a shock. Periodontal disease has been linked to the following overall health concerns:

  • Cardiovascular disease – C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is produced due to inflammation. Elevated levels of this protein have long been consider an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. A 2012 study revealed that the same protein is significantly higher in patients with periodontal disease.
  • Diabetes – Patients with diabetes are almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease. Research has posited numerous reasons for this correlation, but it’s important to note that the real danger is the potential inability to fully remove periodontal disease in diabetic patients. Diabetes is considered an immune compromising disease. That means any infection takes longer to heal. Gum disease packs a double whammy for diabetic patients. Not only is periodontal disease an infection that the immune compromised system struggles to heal, but it also contributes to elevated blood sugar levels.
  • Pre-term and low-weight birth – hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy increases risk for periodontal disease. A phenomenon known as pregnancy gingivitis. This mild form of gum disease is easily treated during pregnancy, but if it’s left untreated, the advanced disease contributes to pre-term and low-weight births.

Effective Gum Disease Treatment Options

Dr. Mace and his Washington, MO team offer a full range of treatment options for every stage of gum disease. For patients with gingivitis, increased professional cleanings and better at-home care are typically adequate treatment, but for more advanced periodontal disease, treatments may include:

  • Scaling – the systematic removal of plaque and calculus from all tooth surfaces especially below and around the gums
  • Root planing – smoothing the surface of tooth roots making it more difficult for plaque to bond to the surface
  • Shortened Cleaning Intervals– one of the most effective methods of controlling gum disease is for patients to have their teeth cleaned every three or four months
  • Antibiotic treatment – oral or topical antibiotics may be used to ensure the infection is completely removed
  • Pocket irrigation – removing any infection, plaque, or affected tissue from gum pockets
  • Surgery – in the most severe cases, referral to a periodontist for surgical treatments such as pocket depth reduction, bone or tissue regeneration, crown lengthening, and soft tissue grafts may be necessary.

Find Out More About Gum Disease Therapy in Washington, MO

If you’re suffering with periodontal disease or at risk for gum disease, call Dr. Mace and his Washington, MO dental team to schedule your checkup and teeth cleaning today. We’ll diagnose any periodontal disease or areas for concern, and help you maintain the optimal level of oral health.

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