Periodontal disease and your health

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It begins with plaques, an invisible, sticky film form on the teeth created when starch and sugar in food intracts with bacteria in the mouth. It easily gets removed by brushing. Plaques that stays on the teeth more than 2-3 days can become tartar which is hard to remove and can only be removed by professional cleaning. Tartar can damage part of the gum around the base of the teeth and cause gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease. If the issue not address early, gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease called periodontitis. The inflation causes developments of pockets between gum and teeth that gets filled with plaques and bacteria. The pockets gradually become deeper and progress under the gum line. The deep infection cause damage to the integrity of the gum tissue and eventually loses of teeth.

Although normally the cycle starts with poor maintenance and hygiene there are other factors that contribute to the condition:

Heredity –There is a heredity element to periodontal disease. If you are doing everything to maintain a good oral health and still suffer from gum disease you might have inherited a pre-disposition to periodontal problems.

Drugs – Oral application of drugs, such as cold medicine,oral contraceptives and antidepressants damage production of saliva which has cleansing effect. Lack of saliva production cause the plaque and tartar build up. Drugs such as anti epileptics, especially phonation (Dilantin) and the immune suppressants are among the medicines that can cause gingival overgrowth.

Hormonal changes – Changes in hormones during pregnancy can make the gums more prone to gum disease.

Smoking /Tobacco use – Tobacco Use in any form, smoked or chewed has a significant contribution to periodontal disease. Tobacco damages the immune system, putting the gum in greater risk of infection. Research shows even passive smoking contribute to gun disease. Smoking disguise the sings of gum disease and are less likely to respond to treatments then non-smokers.

Diabetes – Diabetic people are more likely to develop gum disease due to being more susceptible to infections. Gum disease is considered one of the complication of diabetes.Diabetes thickens the blood vessels, which carry oxygen and nutrition to body tissues and remove waste. Diabetes by thickening the blood vessels slows down the flow of blood and delivery of nutrition and removal of waste. This gradually damage the gum and increase the risk of infection.

Diet– poor diet can damage body’s immune system and impair body’s capability to fight infection. Lack of vitamin C and Calcium has been found to contribute to periodontal disease. Calcium strengthens the bone that supports the teeth while Vitamin C maintains the integrity of supporting tissues.

Stress– stress has been linked to many health conditions such as cancer and hypertension. Research has shown that stress can contribute to periodontal disease by making it more difficult for the body to fight infections.

Complications

Having periodontal disease may put you at greater risk of a number of serious medical conditions:

Heart disease and stroke

Gum disease can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Research suggests that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the connection. The bacteria responsible for gum disease can travel through bloodstreams to the heart where they initiate inflammation and arterial narrowing that cause hear attack. Oral bacteria can make the body more prone to develop blood clots and increased risk of stroke.

Complications of pregnancy

Pregnant women with gum disease, moderate to sever are more likely to give birth to premature baby in compare with women with healthy gum. Although the connection is not clear but having gum disease appears to limit the growth of the fetus in the womb and trigger the production of the substances that initiate labour. This is more apparent in cases of sever gum disease that gets worse during pregnancy. The problem gets worse for women with diabetes who are already considered at high risk of pregnancy problems.

Uncontrolled blood sugar

Diabeters puts whole body including the mouth at the risk developing complications. By developing periodontal disease and other infections the body’s ability to use insulin is effected, making blood sugar level harder to control.

Pneumonia

If you have gum disease and lung problems, the travelling bacteria from your mouth yourlungs may cause aspiration pneumonia, a condition that is common in hospitals where patientsare sedated or have tracheal tubes.

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