Periodontal Disease: How Bad Could It Be?

FlossingWe’ve all been reminded to floss regularly and brush.  A lack of good dental home care can contribute to periodontal disease.  Periodontitis, meaning “inflammation around the teeth” is a progressive condition that is a major cause of tooth loss.  If caught in the early stages, it can be stopped from progressing. However, if allowed to continue, periodontitis leads to permanent damage. But just how bad could it get?

Why Is Flossing Important?

Flossing removes bacteria, food particles, and dead cells from between teeth. Your toothbrush simply can’t reach all the places that flossing can. If you don’t floss regularly, you may notice that your gums bleed when you do. This can indicate the presence of one or more strains of bacteria associated with periodontitis.

Several strains of bacteria found in the mouth are linked to systemic disease. Streptoccocus mutans, one of the microorganism responsible for dental plaque, is also associated with heart disease. If S. mutans enters the bloodstream, it can travel to the heart and cause bacterial endocarditis (an inflammatory disease).

Porphyromonas gingivalis is associated with periodontal disease. Infection with P. gingivalis can eventually lead to bone loss. It’s also associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and rheumatoid arthritis, as it causes the release of inflammatory chemicals.

What Else Can Periodontal Disease Do?

If you have periodontal disease your risk of heart disease doubles. It also increases the risk of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications. Periodontitis is the second most common disease in the world; tooth decay is the first. Fortunately, both are preventable by good oral hygiene habits and regular dental care. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash if your dentist recommends it. Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and good oral health is essential to good overall health.

Bad breath, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums can be signs of periodontal disease. Dr. Ann Kania, your San Diego periodontist, knows the importance of early detection and treatment. Call our office today at 760-642-0711 to schedule your appointment. We serve patients in Encinitas, Del Mar, La Costa, San Marcos, Carlsbad, and the greater San Diego area.