Dental services and medical services are widely available in the U.S. The health of your teeth can greatly affect the health of your body and the health of your body can greatly affect the health of your teeth. This is not widely known among most people, but it is an established fact among dental and healthcare professionals.
Dental health can be mostly preventable, yet gradually over time; people can develop different problems with their teeth, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. There are standard procedures to help with these problems, but sometimes those standard procedures are influenced by medical conditions, either made harder to treat or the dental treatment may affect the medical condition.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque, which is an invisible bacteria in the mouth, and is the initial stage of early gum disease and is easily treatable. Daily brushing and flossing are essential, as are regularly scheduled cleanings at the dental office. Good oral hygiene can reverse gingivitis; if gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is much more serious.
With periodontal disease, pockets can form in the gum, above the gum line, which will trap bacteria and can lead to a breakdown in the fiber and supporting bones that hold your teeth. With the right treatment, periodontal disease can be reversed, but continued treatment may always be needed. There are certain habits that can make gingivitis and periodontal more serious, like smoking or chewing tobacco. If you have these habits, the best thing that you can to is quit. If periodontal disease is not caught and worsens, this can lead to surgery to attempt to restructure the gum around the tooth. Reconstruction is typically done by a periodontist.
Periodontal disease used to be treated by taking antibiotics, which are still commonly prescribed when surgery is involved. However, doctors and dentists no longer think that using it as a standard treatment is a good idea, as there is a growing resistance in germs to antibiotics.
Growing data is also showing a link between chronic gum disease and the onset of early heart disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection, and the current theory is that it allows the bacteria to enter the blood stream, attach themselves to fatty deposits in heart blood vessels, which can lead to blood clots and heart disease.
Also, people who have diabetes have been found to have a higher risk for gum disease, and the two diseases can have an effect on each other. Gum disease can interfere with blood glucose levels, which can contribute to advancement of the diabetes.
Other certain medical conditions can cause or lead to gum disease. Dry mouth is a condition where the glands that produce saliva are not working properly, which contributes greatly to gum disease. Seeing your medical doctor about dry mouth may help prevent this, which can then prevent gum disease, saving you a trip to the dentist as well.
With all of the risk factors, oral care is very important, especially as we age. It’s also important for parents to start instilling good, oral care habits with their children at a young age, to reduce the risk of infection, disease, and costly procedures. If you are not brushing or flossing enough, start doing so, and see your dentist on a regular basis. If you develop gingivitis, try to keep it from becoming periodontal disease. If it does, follow your dentist’s instructions, and if you should develop medical problems and need surgery, inform your doctor of the disease.