About Gum Disease
The main cause of periodontal disease (gum disease) is bacterial plaque.
This bacteria, left untreated on your teeth, causes damage to the gums and
the bone that supports your teeth; this can lead to premature tooth loss.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, other factors also
affect the health of your gums. The following are a list of factors to look
* Smoking/ Tobacco use
Many studies have shown that smoking is one of the most significant risk
factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. If you
are a smoker, you must be evaluated by a Periodontist regularly.
According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 15 million
Americans have diabetes. Diabetics are more prone to developing infections,
including periodontal disease.
Furthermore, recent research shows that
the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways.
Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for a diabetic patient to
control their blood sugar level. So, diabetics who have periodontal disease
should be monitored and treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.
It is important to see a Periodontist on a regular basis if you are a
Studies show that over 30% of the population may be genetically predisposed
to periodontal disease. Therefore, the American Academy of Periodontology
recommends that if one member of a family has lost his/her teeth early in
life, or has been treated for periodontal disease, all other family members
should be evaluated as well.
Stress has long been linked to many serious conditions such as cancer and
hypertension. Now, research confirms that it is also a major risk factor for
* Heart disease and Stroke
Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are twice as
likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal
disease. Additional studies have proven that people who have suffered from a
stroke were more likely to have periodontal disease.
* Pregnancy and periodontal disease
It's possible that if you have periodontal disease and are pregnant, you may
be seven times more likely to have a premature, low birth weight baby.
The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that women who are
considering pregnancy or are pregnant, to have regular periodontal
Some drugs such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, anti-seizure
medications and certain heart medications can affect your oral health. If
you have noticed any changes in your mouth, such as dry mouth, bad breath,
swollen or bleeding gums, and you take medications, consult a Periodontist
for a complete evaluation.
* Respiratory and periodontal disease
Growing research suggests that if you have periodontal disease, you may be
at increased risk for respiratory disease. If you think you are at risk or
have a respiratory condition, see a Periodontist for an evaluation- because
healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.
* Clenching or grinding your teeth
Do you think you grind your teeth? Is your jaw sore from clenching your
teeth during the day? Clenching or grinding your teeth puts extra pressure
on teeth and can accelerate periodontal problems.
If you notice soreness
in your facial muscles or joint, a clicking sound when opening and closing
your mouth, along with discomfort, you may also be suffering from TMJ
Consult a Periodontist for an evaluation and possible
treatment of TMJ disorder.