Gum disease is a common, transmissible infectious disease. Bacteria which cause this infection can be spread from person to person through direct contact such as kissing. This post discusses this common problem and presents modern solutions utilized by today’s state-of-the-art dentists and hygienists to help their patients achieve and maintain a state of “kissable” health!
Even if your smile looks healthy, there’s a good chance you have gum disease, (otherwise known as periodontal disease), lurking around those pearly whites. As much as 85 percent of the adult population has some level of periodontal disease, according to current scientific research. Periodontal disease is the most common chronic infection known to man. It is considered an infectious disease and is easily spread within families and close circles of friends.
The Mouth-Body Connection
Controlling your gum disease is critical if you want to keep your teeth. But controlling gum disease is also key to your overall health — the bacteria that cause gum disease can spread from your mouth to the rest of your body. Research has shown links between gum disease and premature birth, as well as other complications during pregnancy. Periodontal disease can worsen diabetes and diabetes can worsen periodontal disease. This insidious disease is also linked to heart attacks and strokes, lung and kidney diseases and may be a factor in multiple cancers, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. In essence, periodontal disease can be life-threatening. This is why we refer to the mouth-body connection as the oral/systemic link.
Healing from the Inside Out…And the Outside-In
Proper nutrition, in the form of a minimum of eight tennis ball servings of fruits and vegetables per day – along with specially targeted nutritional supplements – help boost the integrity of the entire immune system, and nourish the oral soft tissues when necessary, this is what we call “healing from the inside out.” It is important to realize that the soft tissue in the mouth is the most vulnerable tissue in the body and the periodontal bacteria living in the mouth are some of the most aggressive bacteria living anywhere in the body. A dose of a specific antibiotic may be necessary if the bacterial load is exceedingly high, and is only recommended after confirmation of the need.
Simultaneously proper gum therapy removes calcified debris on root surfaces (like barnacles on a boat) which can irritate the gums, as well as the bacterial toxins which are the soft but sticky “biofilm” on the teeth (like the film that develops inside an aquarium or flower vase).
This treatment helps to reduce inflammation and the depth of pockets between the teeth and gums. For more serious cases of periodontal disease, these procedures can be combined with gentle laser treatment to disinfect the roots of the teeth and the soft tissue around the teeth. With these methods and homecare strategies, traditional periodontal surgery is rarely needed to treat the diseased tissue.
Probiotics help your gums and whole health
As part of treatment, and for follow-up, a special mouth rinse and toothpaste is recommended, along with specific home care, often with an electric toothbrush, floss and specific brushes which clean between the teeth. Probiotics are also important and helpful. They help your mouth to increase the good bacteria, leaving no room for the bad bacteria to take hold.
Are you “safe to Kiss”?
Unfortunately, once you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, you’ll always be at risk for recurrence. We will monitor your gum health with professional preventive treatment. Periodontal disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence for you or your teeth. But diligence is always necessary because, as scientific research shows, we can go from healthy gums to diseased gums within 36 hours of neglect. Think about it—what other part of our body requires such diligent care in order to prevent a disease state from occurring?
Is it time for your next dental visit? Keeping regular dental health appointments makes a big difference in your overall health. Your health – your life –may depend on it. Remember to make your health a priority; prevention is the best medicine.
…you’ll be “kissable” too!
Contact the team at Dental Specialists of Niles, P.C. for your next scheduled dental appointment at 847-685-6686.