Can Periodontal Disease Really Be a Health Risk?

Periodontal disease, which develops in the gum tissues that surround your teeth roots, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. In its severe form, periodontitis, the disease destroys your gum tissues and jawbone structure, leaving one or more teeth without the support they need. However, this is only one reason why periodontal disease is such a threat. For patients in Encinitas/San Diego who don’t treat their conditions as soon as possible, severe periodontitis can also lead to increased risks of other chronic health conditions.

The Mechanisms Behind Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused mainly by the mechanisms of various harmful oral bacteria. For example, certain bacteria release toxins and harmful substances that erode your gum tissues, while others can incite rampant inflammation that furthers that erosion. Specifically, Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria produce molecules that inhibit your immune system’s ability to turn inflammation off. This leads to unchecked swelling that drives much of the destruction associated with severe periodontal disease.

How this Affects Your Health

Excessive inflammation is a threat to more than just your periodontal health. When present in other areas of your body, it can also increase risks of chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (in the joints), cardiovascular disease (in the heart and arteries), dementia (in the brain), and more. When you have periodontal disease, the damage to your gums can lead to bleeding, which can allow P. gingivalis and other oral bacteria in the bloodstream. In severe cases, this can allow the bacteria to increase your risks of wide-spread inflammation.

How to Control the Threats

The good news is that periodontal disease can be prevented or controlled with specialized treatment, and so can the risks that it might pose to the rest of your wellbeing. For example, if you exhibit signs of gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease), then your periodontist can suggest scaling and root planing to remove bacteria from underneath your gums and allow the tissues to heal. More advanced gum disease may require laser treatment and ongoing maintenance to stop it from becoming even more severe.

Avoid Risks Associated with Gum Disease

If left unchecked, periodontal (gum) disease can become a significant risk to your overall health as well as your health. For more information, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania by calling her periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.