October 24, 2017
Periodontal Disease: Public enemy number one.
Dr. Scott Pirochta
Periodontal Disease (PD), also known as gum disease, (or pyorrhea), is so prevalent that it is believed over 70% of adults have it in one form or another. 50% of adults over 30 years of age have PD in it's more advanced stages. It's symptoms are so common that some believe they are normal. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that attacks the gums, bone and ligaments that support one's teeth. This affects the longevity of the teeth, one's ability to eat, one's looks and even more concerning, one's overall health. Potent inflammatory pathogens (bacteria) are to blame.
These bacteria aren't confined to just the mouth. They get into the bloodstream and can affect many other parts of the body. PD is associated with heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, certain cancers and even pregnancy and childbirth complications. Many things can affect the presence and progression of PD, including genetics, smoking, medications, diet, inconsistent home care and vacations from the dentist.
How do you know if you have PD?
It begins very quietly and without symptoms: possibly a little redness around the gums that surround your teeth, maybe a little bleeding when brushing or flossing, maybe bad breath that does not seem to go away with brushing or mouthwash use. More obvious symptoms include gum recession, maybe including sensitivity to temperature extremes, developing spaces which can accompany food accumulation, and possibly even mobility or looseness of your teeth.
The good news is that most of the effects of PD can be arrested and the health implications minimized. The only sure way to diagnose PD is with dental x-rays and periodontal probing by your dentist or dental hygienist. Treatment is not the same for every person or differing severities of PD. Salivary DNA diagnostics (a spit sample) is becoming quite accurate at identifying the pathogens involved to allow further customization of treatment regimens.
If you are an existing patient of Healthy Life Dentistry, rest assured that you are screened at every professional cleaning appointment. If you are not a patient of record, we would love for you to become one. Please call 616-281-0220. Only then can we ensure, not only the health of your teeth and gums, but also a large step towards your overall health. We want to be your partner in health! (We do all things for the health of it!)