Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease
After dental decay, Periodontal Disease is the second most common disease. It is a part of inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium (the tissues that surround and support the teeth). Periodontal disease involves the progressive loss of bone around the teeth, and if left untreated, can lead to mobility and loss of teeth. It is caused by bacteria that adhere to and multiply on the tooth surfaces, along with the host response against these bacteria. Plaque is the sticky film that forms around teeth constantly. Bacteria live in the plaque. But that isn’t the whole story of periodontal disease. Other factors described below can affect the health of your gums, teeth and bone.
Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older of age have periodontitis. This is not to say that age alone will result in periodontitis.
Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Also, tobacco users are at an increased risk for periodontal disease. As studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smokers have an increase rate of rapid bone, and soft tissue destruction. Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (hardened plaque) due to a decrease in saliva flow. They have less bleeding gums and redness which lead to a false impression that the gums are healthy. It is very important that smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their health of their gums and to help quit smoking.
Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite engaged oral care habits, these individuals may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a periodic evaluation before they show signs of the disease and getting them into early treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases. It increases inflammation allowing bacteria to thrive.
Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you would notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medications you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider. At Dentate Smile Design, we inform each individual of the adverse effects the medication plays with your oral health and recommend a product that best suits your condition.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed. Signs of clenching/grinding your teeth will include, wearing of your teeth, notching, and fracture lines.
Other Systemic Diseases
Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. Inflammation (or swelling) is the body’s natural response to infection. It is possible that as oral bacteria travel through the body, it triggers a similar response, which leads to the formation of plaque .These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Poor Nutrition and Obesity
A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease. This is due to the fat cells secreting inflammatory markers that affect the metabolism throughout the body and contribute to the development of systemic inflammation. An individualized nutrition analysis is completed with Dr. Vo and the hygienist to determine appropriate recommendations.
Dentate Smile Design provides a clinical examination and diagnosis of periodontal health by inspecting the gum tissues around the teeth with a probe. Digital x-rays are taken and evaluated to determine the amount of bone loss around the teeth.