5/14/2007 3:59:00 PM An MDTVnews.com Special Report On... Wilmington Dental Implant Expert Bradford L. Klassman, DMD Speaks Out Against Gum Disease Don't Let Gum Disease Affect Your Systemic Health
Bradford L. Klassman, DMD
WILMINGTON -- MDTVSelect.org -- Without proper oral hygiene and routine preventive care, bacteria in our mouth attach to our teeth in a film called plaque. Eventually, the plaque will calcify forming a hard material called calculus (tartar). Tartar holds other bacteria and is impossible to remove through normal homecare procedures. This build up causes the gums to become inflamed, a condition called Gingivitis. In genetically susceptible individuals, the immune system releases enzymes that destroy the bone and gum attachment of the tooth, allowing the gum attachment to reform lower on the root surface thus sealing off the bacterial invasion. Now the spaces between the teeth and gums have gotten deeper and allows the bacteria to grow down deeper on the root surface well underneath the gum. This creates a chronic type of infection because the deposits are inaccessible to homecare and other dental hygiene procedures.
It is this chronic inflammation which has been shown to have a direct effect on our systemic health. The products of chronic inflammation have been linked to numerous disease states including diabetes, coronary artery disease including stroke and hypertension, and preterm and low birth weight babies. It has long been suspected that untreated oral infections could have an impact on our systemic health. Recently, there have been numerous scientific studies that have gone a step further to quantify and qualify the significance of these problems. Studies by Genco and others have repeated shown that patients with untreated periodontal disease are 7 times more likely to have stroke. Pregnant mothers with untreated gum disease are roughly 4 x more likely to have preterm and low birth weight deliveries. Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections and dental infections are not immune. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease and when they get it tends to be more severe. Tests have also shown that treatment for periodontal disease has a positive effect on a patient's diabetic control!
Patients with medical risk factors as well as those with periodontal disease need to be made ware of this perio-systemic link. Research continues today to further elaborate on the links going as far as identifying various chemical substances that can cause the medical problems we see today. Physicians should also realize the importance of oral health as a part of total body health. Don't let periodontal disease affect your systemic health. If you have periodontal problems or suspect you do, see your dentist for a comprehensive evaluation.