For years, dentists and dental/medical researchers have posited a potential link between periodontal disease and other systemic and chronic illnesses including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Dental practitioners have increased emphasis on preventive screenings and treatment to maintain oral health, but some estimates indicate that upwards of 70% of U.S. adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. According to two recent studies, the severe form of gum disease may have an even more concrete connection to heart disease, and tooth loss caused by periodontal disease may just be the most likely indicator of heart disease related to gum health. Find out more below.
According to research conducted in India, published in the Dental Research Journal, periodontitis (the acute form of gum disease and the leading cause of tooth loss in US adults) may be caused by the same protein, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), that is a contributing factor in heart disease. The study viewed three groups of 80 patients each separated into categories of generalized aggressive periodontitis, chronic generalized periodontitis, and a control group with no periodontitis. The results were enlightening. Not only did patients with aggressive and chronic periodontitis have much higher CRP levels than patients without periodontal disease, but patients with aggressive periodontitis had significantly higher levels than those with chronic gum disease. Additionally, patients with the highest levels of CRP showed the most damage to connective gum tissue that leads to tooth loss.
A second study of 16,000 people from 39 countries presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in 2013 revealed that patients with missing teeth, unsurprisingly, had a higher risk for gum disease. However, the surprise came when they realized that for every significant decrease in the number of teeth, a correlating increase in the risk for heart disease was apparent. With this startling research in mind, the Kodish Dental Group team has renewed reason for emphasizing prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease for our Fort Lauderdale dentistry patients.
Periodontitis Symptoms and Treatment
For many patients, the early stages of gum disease present relatively few, if any, symptoms. However, when gum disease has advanced to aggressive or chronic periodontitis, patients typically have some combination of the following warning signs:
- Bleeding gums (during hygiene and eating as well as when gum tissue is not stimulated)
- Irritation, pain, sensitivity, swelling, redness, purplish coloring, and other physical and visible signs that patients’ gum tissue is irritated
- Chronic bad breath or bad taste in the mouth that doesn’t diminish with regular brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse
- Receding gums (teeth look longer, gums look uneven)
- Pus or fluid between teeth
- Teeth that feel loose or a bite that doesn’t fit together comfortably
If you notice any of these signs, please contact your Fort Lauderdale dentist immediately. We’re happy to help you treat any level of periodontal disease. The most common treatments for periodontitis are more frequent professional teeth cleanings, waterlase laser therapy, scaling, and root planning, and antibiotic treatment.
Tooth Implants and Other Replacement Options
For those patients who have lost teeth due to gum disease, the first step to successful recovery is treating the disease, but after remaining teeth and gums are healthy, the Kodish Dental Group can help replace any number of missing teeth with implant-supported dental prosthetics, crown and bridge, and a wide variety of removable full and partial dentures including the popular Fountain of Youth Dentures.
Call Your Fort Lauderdale Dentist
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease or have missing teeth related to periodontitis, call Kodish Dental Group today. Your Fort Lauderdale dentist is here to help you restore your oral health, overall wellbeing, and leave you with a smile you’ll love to share.
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