Blog Post

Periodontal Disease and Your Health

“It’s just a cleaning, right?” But putting off a dental cleaning increases your risk for periodontal disease (gum disease). In turn, this impacts your overall health in very big ways. Heart disease, Diabetes, stroke, and pre-term labor to name a few.

Health problems caused by periodontal disease

Courtesy of British dental health foundation

How is that possible? When the bacteria in plaque builds up, it starts to cause inflammation and becomes harmful to the gum tissue and bone support. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease when the gum tissues are red and inflamed. Gingivitis is the body’s warning sign of periodontal disease. Once it progresses past gingivitis, permanent bone loss starts to occur; it worsens with each stage of periodontal disease to the point of causing tooth loss. Other factors impact periodontal disease too, like smoking or dry mouth (a common side effect of medications).

Studies are now showing how the health of the mouth is an indicator of the overall health of the person. That is because the bacteria that causes periodontal disease circulates through your whole body in your blood stream and in your saliva. It is known there is a very strong correlation between periodontal disease and both diabetes and heart disease. People with artificial joints or heart valves especially need to keep their oral health in check. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease can also cause pre-term labor for pregnant women.

So what can you do to prevent periodontal disease from happening? Regular dental cleanings and good home care go hand in hand. Our hygienists remove the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) from the surfaces of your teeth. They also tell you which areas may need some more attention. Once your teeth are cleaned, it is easier for you to maintain them with daily brushing and flossing. Depending on your periodontal needs, you may need more frequent visits than just two times a year. Many dental insurance companies recognize the need for extra visits because of periodontal disease and have extra benefits available for it. We would be glad to check with your insurance plan for you.

If it has been awhile since you have seen a dentist for a cleaning, call us today. It’s more than just a cleaning – it’s your health!