Periodontal Disease: What is it?
The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly half of all adults aged 30 or over have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease as do nearly three-quarters of all adults aged 65 and older.
What is periodontal disease? According to the American Academy of Periodontology, it is,
an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. In the more serious form of periodontal disease called periodontitis, the gums pull away from the tooth and supporting gum tissues are destroyed. Bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or eventually fall out.
Risk Factors for Periodontitis
The Mayo Clinic provides a rather long list of possible risk factors for this disease:
- Poor oral health habits
- Tobacco use
- Older age
- Decreased immunity, such as that occurring with leukemia, HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
- Substance abuse
- Poor-fitting dental restorations
- Problems with the way your teeth fit together when biting
These factors should not be ignored and most can be treated or prevented.
What are the overall health implications?
This is a major health concern, not only because of damage to the teeth, gums and other supporting tissues, including bones, but also because of the link between periodontal disease and other health issues. Periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer to name a few.
Because of the possible damage to the mouth and the association with other health threatening issues in the body, proper care and treatment are paramount.
At Dental by Design, our staff and dentists understand the nature of this relationship between the health of your teeth and gums and the rest of your body. They use the latest techniques for prevention and treatment of gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis in order to help you maintain both your dental and your overall medical health.