Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health

Grave yard with flowers

You hear about it in the news more and more these days: people dying from a bacterial infection of the heart. In some cases, the doctors believe this infection may have stemmed from untreated periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth). The same bacteria found in the infected heart was found in the inflamed gum tissue. Doctors believe these early deaths are totally avoidable.

Many Are at Risk

Untreated gum disease is alarmingly prevalent in America. Many people have no awareness about how serious, even deadly, periodontitis can be. Fifty percent of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from varying levels of periodontal disease with 10% of those having severe periodontitis. These numbers are staggering!

Don’t Miss the Warning Signs

Some of those signs are:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Tender, swollen, or puffy gums
  • Purple or bright red gums

Stopping Progression of the Disease

Gum disease can be slow to develop for many people. It’s a simple case of out of sight, out of mind.  In cases of periodontitis, the only way to stop the progression of the disease is regular deep cleanings done by a dental professional. Once pockets have formed under the gumline and there has been bone loss, even excellent home oral hygiene must be coupled with professional deep cleanings. There is simply no physical way to reach and clean the areas prone to further bacterial growth without special tools and procedures provided by your dentist. Although the damage done cannot be reversed, further damage can definitely be stopped and the bacterial growth can be held in check.

A Definite Correlation Between Periodontitis and Heart Issues

Statistically, officials are not ready to confirm that there is a direct link between periodontitis and heart disease, but they definitely notice a strong correlation. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that can affect the whole body, but the correlation between periodontitis and heart disease, strokes and other vascular issues are the strongest.

Do You Have Gum Disease?

If your gums are bleeding or are tender, it is definitely time to see a dentist. Even if you do not have pain and have good home dental hygiene, you could have periodontitis. Again, although damage cannot be reversed, periodontal disease can be halted. If you suspect you have periodontal disease, do not put off making an appointment to see your dentist.

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