What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Almost half of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. However the majority of these people do not even realize they have it. Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums, bones and periodontal ligament (attachment fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw).
Periodontal disease is usually painless and silent, until its advanced stages. If left untreated, symptoms can include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen and tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gum and tooth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Our office is specially set up to treat and prevent the symptoms of periodontal disease.
Why should I be aware of the link between heart disease and periodontal disease?
Healthy hearts and healthy gums play vital roles in maintaining a healthy body. Because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. The heart is one of the most susceptible organs. Heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) affects more than 60 million Americans. It is the leading cause of death in the United States. Yet many types of heart disease may be prevented. Taking care of your periodontal health may be one important step toward prevention along with controlling the well-known risk factors for heart disease.
How does periodontal disease increase my risk for heart disease?
Several theories exist to explain the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory is that oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.
Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease also has been linked to other significant health problems, including respiratory diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and premature and underweight births. It is very important that you always provide our office with a comprehensive and accurate medical history, including any problems you are aware of with your heart. We can work together to help you protect both your gums and your overall health.
How can ADNY detect and help me prevent periodontal disease?
Our hygiene department has the most up to date methods in preventing periodontal disease. This includes periodontal screening tests and the highest technology digital x-ray system with ultra high magnification to see even the smallest areas of plaque or calculus. This x-ray system reduces the effects of x-radiation by up to 90%. Our highly trained periodontal hygienist records the measurement of gum recession and evaluation of potential bone loss early on. Each visit these findings are re-evaluated. Most importantly, the cleanings and scalings are performed in the most meticulous manner. All this is done in a relaxed atmosphere catering to your needs. We have flat screen LDS TV's with cable to alleviate anxiety. We also have topical solutions to decrease sensitivity to scaling by lightly anesthetizing the gums. We have many prophy aids to further assist the patient with home care (i.e. rubber tips, floss threaders, fluoride treatments and denture adhesive). We also give each patient a complimentary gift bag with a top of the line toothbrush, floss, sample toothpaste, and mouthwash.