Beginning in the 90’s, research uncovered details that linked periodontal diseases with overall health.
Specifically, periodontal disease has been shown to:
1) Increase the risk of hypertention and atherosclerosis and thus the development of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
2) Increase the risk of developing diabetes or make it more difficult for patients already afflicted with diabetes to control the disease.
3)Increase the risk of having a preterm or low birth weight baby.
4)Be linked to other diseases which are still being studied.
How can gum disease have such an impact in other areas of the body? The mechanism is medically complex but basically, the disease is an inflammation caused by bacteria that ends circulating in the blood and causing harm to other systems in the body, therefore triggering inflammatory responses leading to effects at target organs like the heart, brain and placenta.
Periodontal disease can go on for years without pain and without detection unless specific examination procedures are performed. Just a visual oral examination (even by a dentist) will not reliably detect periodontal disease until it has reached an advanced stage. The damage caused as the disease progresses is irreversible.
Early detection and adequate diagnosis require measurement of pockets (the crevice between the tooth and gum) with a periodontal probe. Effective prevention and treatment is available, and with today’s technology , the procedure is simple and very easily tolerated.
Signs of periodontal disease include one or more of the following:
Bleeding gums when brushing or biting into food
Redness of gum tissue
Swelling of gums around the teeth
Mobility of teeth