The data you get from your mom and dad that determines your eye color and height also plays a role in the health of your mouth! Genetics affects the onset and the progression periodontal disease. While gum disease does run in families, it’s not as quite as simple as other genetic traits like curly versus straight hair. So what is the role of genetics and gum disease?
Candy hearts – the tried and true method of demonstrating your affection for someone on Valentine’s Day. As the years have gone by, the phrases may have been updated to fit modern slang, but the message remains the same: “I like you!”
If the elements that make up your body could give candy hearts to one another on Valentine’s Day, would they? One thing’s for sure, if you’re keeping up to date on your oral health and treatment of gum disease, your mouth is sure to have a full box of love notes on the big day. Why? Because of the connection between gum disease and other illnesses.
Gum disease and pregnancy are not two subjects you might expect to go hand in hand, but if there’s anything we’ve learned in educating ourselves and others about gum disease, it’s that it can have surprising and drastic effects on the rest of your health. Because the mouth is an entry point to the rest of your body, bacteria from gum disease can actually travel from your gums and teeth to other parts of your body and begin wreaking havoc.
When it comes to gum disease and pregnancy, the health of both the mother and the baby are at risk. Because pregnant women are already likely to have gum disease due to hormonal changes, it’s especially important to stay on top of your oral health so the following side effects of gum disease don’t impact your pregnancy and child’s life in infancy and beyond.
After education comes the decision-making time – how will you address gum disease? If you’ve seen a doctor and been diagnosed, you know that “doing nothing” is not going to make the problem resolve itself. You have a handful of options with regards to surgery, but more and more patients are opting for laser gum disease treatment because of its minimally invasive nature. Laser gum disease treatment is an alternative to painful methods that may require extensive pain management and downtime.
Increases in hormones due to pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives can make women more sensitive to plaque and bacteria in the mouth and accelerate the progression of gum disease. Even a standard menstrual cycle or the onset of puberty – when there are increased levels of progesterone and estrogen in the body – can cause a heightened response to bacteria that can impact your oral health if left untreated. Pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of passing along the burden to their children, with preterm, low weight babies and even stillbirth linked to untreated cases.
Having a stroke is something that is terrifying in theory, yet may feel a long ways off if you are under a certain age. The fact, though, is that it isn’t just the elderly that are susceptible to the potentially life-threatening dangers of strokes.
Similarly, gum disease isn’t something that many people — of any age — seem to spend much time worrying about. Because of its relatively mild symptoms and lack of pain, people tend to shrug off the diagnosis as unimportant. However, untreated gum disease can lead to bleeding and sore gums, bad breath and even lost teeth. There is also evidence that the bacteria in gum disease may be related to other systemic health problems.
Technology has changed almost every aspect our lives, and dentistry is no different. One of the exciting developments is the advancement of laser dental treatment. We are constantly learning and striving to advance the standard of patient care within dentistry, and in our own office. Many practices are adding a new procedure that complements routine cleanings and can help fight periodontal disease – Laser Pocket Disinfection.
Periodontal disease affects approximately 85% of adults and is a growing epidemic. Our understanding of this disease has increased greatly over the last few years. We now know that periodontal disease is a bacterial infection around teeth. Specific types of pathogenic bacteria collect in pockets between your gums and teeth; as they multiply, they destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place.
Gum Disease Awareness Month started as a grassroots movement. Recognizing the epidemic-level problem of untreated gum disease in the United States, the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD) launched a campaign in 2012 to educate the public about the prevalence and the consequences of untreated gum disease.
Today, Gum Disease Awareness (or GDA for short) Month is recognized in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands, supported by clinicians whose aim is to improve their patients’ understanding of the disease. If you’ve ever wondered “why” Gum Disease Awareness is important enough to deserve its own month, here are the main goals behind the movement.
It’s Valentine’s season again, which means proclamations of love, pictures of Cupid and chocolates are everywhere. Whether you find the Valentine’s Day sentiments romantic or annoying, you can use those candy hearts as a reminder to take care of your actual heart’s health.
This research, as well as the fact that those with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease, has made dental professionals sit up and take notice of the connection — both for their patients and themselves.
As a general dentist, I’m the first line of defense for periodontal (gum) disease. When patients come in, one of the first things we do is check to make sure their gums are healthy. When I diagnose a patient with periodontal disease, my goal is for them to understand the disease and then “own it”. We have to work together to keep it from moving to advanced stages.
Gum disease is personal for me. It has impacted my family – even since I’ve become a dentist my dad and grandfather have lost teeth to gum disease. Every day I try to find a solution for gum disease so my patients don’t have to experience the same thing.
Most of my patients don’t realize they have gum disease. Either they haven’t had a periodontal probing, or they don’t know what the numbers mean. And when patients don’t know what the numbers mean, they can’t help fight gum disease. This is why it’s so important for dentists to educate patients about gum disease – and for patients to ask questions and learn more.