The American Dental Association now has mandated that
general dentists take greater care in presenting, diagnosing and treating gum
disease, also known as periodontal disease.
We now know you get better results treating this infection early. Periodontal disease affects 80 to 85 percent of the adults in this country. Research has shown that we cannot cure this condition but only control it, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
The first signs of Periodontal Disease are red, puffy and bleeding gums called gingivitis. Bleeding is not normal. If you had bleeding in any other part of your body, it would be serious enough for you to want it to stop. Why is the mouth any different? Bleeding is a sign from your body that something is wrong and needs attention and care. If there is blood during brushing or flossing, the time to do something about it is now.
The reason why it is important to treat gingivitis early is because the infection is still only in the gums and has not progressed into infecting and destroying the surrounding structural bone holding the teeth in place. Once this occurs (periodontitis) this bone is damaged permanently.
Periodontal disease is caused by the lack of removal of a bacterial bio-film coating (plaque) that builds up on your teeth and gums. It is the excreted toxins from these bacteria that causes an irritation in the area and activates your immune system to send white blood cell to fight off the infection.
Along with these cells there is an increase in blood flow to the gums, which causes inflammation, redness and bleeding. This is the immune system’s alarm and response to something hurting the body. There can be an increase in bad taste and smell as well as pus excretion that can be noticed.
It has been shown that the threshold of your immune system can fight these toxins for an estimated 90 days if our bodies are fit and healthy. If we become sick and our resistance goes down or natural aging occurs, our ability to combat this chronic infection falls short and periodontal disease becomes more advanced and destructive.
This is the reason patients who have had Periodontal Disease are advised to have their teeth cleaned professionally by a dental hygienist every three months to prevent a recurrence.
It also has been shown that periodontal disease inflammation increases production of a C-reactive protein called CRP, which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and some aggressive cancers. This is the major reason to control this disease, especially as we get older. A good oral hygiene program specifically designed and a full commitment from you is the only way to attack and control this disease, which affects not only your mouth but also your health in general.
If you or any of your friends or family show signs of bleeding, redness or puffy gums or bad oral odor call our office and take advantage of a complimentary screening to see if these are signs of periodontal disease. (regular $75.00 value) To receive this free screening, please mention this article on Patch — expires July 31, 2012.
And remember your daily floss!
Carlos Meulener, DMD PA
4 Parker Ave.
Little Silver, NJ 07739
* Information provided by the Jamison Dental Group