Oral Systemic Connection
There have been numerous studies that show a link between periodontal disease and up to 57 systemic conditions. Your mouth is a hub that connects to the rest of your body so when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, it can cause arteries to become inflamed, putting the body at risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Good oral hygiene is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. This includes brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting a biologic dentist for regular cleanings and exams. During routine dental visits, a focus of the cleaning and exam will be the healthiness of the gums. This is because the gums can harbor harmful bacteria that causes infections and if left untreated can cause periodontitis.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is the result of bacteria, or microbiomes, that cause inflammation and infections in the gums and the bone that surrounds the teeth. Plaque is a film that is formed when the bacteria attach to the teeth and if left on the teeth will turn into calculus, or tartar. Once the infection spreads underneath the gum line, the only way to treat it is by a dental health professional.
How will I know if I have periodontitis?
During a routine dental visit, your biologic dentist or hygienist will communicate with you the condition of your gums; however, there may be signs at home like bleeding or sensitive gums, loose teeth, bad breath, or gums that seem to be pulled away from the teeth. Periodontitis risk factors include smoking, diabetes, stress, dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, or even hormone changes such as pregnancy.
Prevention and Treatment
Keeping up with your oral hygiene can be as simple as brushing and flossing every day to remove the bacteria causing disease and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. You can also take steps in your personal habits to prevent periodontal disease such as quitting smoking and changing your diet to add more fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish. Treatment options include Scaling and Root Planing with laser and ozone, and Perio Protect trays. Scaling and root planing is a procedure where a scaler is used to remove the calculus (tartar) from the gums – which is what the bacteria clings to.
In our office we use laser to disinfect the gum pockets, which can cut the recovery time from 14 weeks to just 7 weeks. Ozone is also used to reduce inflammation due to its antimicrobial effects. For severe cases of periodontal disease, Perio Protect trays are a mouth-guard like system that delivers medication to the gums to fight infections.
Supplements for Fighting Periodontal Disease
There are a variety of dietary choices that affect gum health. Lack of certain vitamins, minerals etc. may put you more at risk for periodontal disease. Vitamin C has been proven to help with inflammation and bleeding gums because a deficiency in vitamin C is a deficiency in collagen production – which is essential to the gums. Vitamin K is also essential to fight off gingival bleeding due to its blood coagulation components. Zinc is an important nutrient not only because of the anti-inflammatory properties, but it is been proven to lower the severity of periodontal disease in those with diabetes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is proven that oral health and overall health correlate and impact one another. Treatment options vary by patient – the best way to get personalized treatment recommendations is to give us a call and make an appointment.