Co-morbidities of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss. However, did you know that there is also a link between periodontal disease and other diseases?

Research studies have shown that there is a strong association between periodontal disease and the following:
• Diabetes
• Heart Disease and Stroke
• Osteoporosis
• Pregnancy or Menopause
• Respiratory Disease

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Individuals with diabetes often experience periodontal disease as a complication to their diabetic disease progression. When periodontal disease is present it is known to increase blood sugar levels, therefore, making glucose control harder for diabetics. Ultimately, this increases the risk of serious diabetic complications. With diabetes, the mouth also struggles to rid itself of excess sugar because diabetics often have thickened blood vessels. Excess sugar causes growth of oral bacteria, which in turn causes gum disease.

It is important for any of our patients suffering from diabetes to see Drs. Davis and Matthews at least twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings. Dental cleanings and periodontal treatments have been proven to control blood sugar and lower the hemoglobin molecule blood test count.
Drs. Davis and Matthews will use medical history and digital x-rays to assess the risk factors for periodontal disease and determine the exact condition of the gums, teeth and underlying jawbone. They may also collaborate with your endocrinologist or primary care doctor to ensure that the diabetes gum disease are being managed as effectively as possible.

Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease/ Stroke
Research shows heart disease may be linked to periodontal disease in the following ways:
• Oral bacteria strains affix to coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This can allow for blood clot formation and the narrowing of the coronary arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
• Inflammation caused by periodontal disease may allow for plaque build up which causes swelling in the arteries. Therefore, periodontal disease can worsen pre-existing heart conditions over time.
• Oral infection is a risk factor for stroke. Research has proven people diagnosed with strokes were most often also experiencing a type of periodontal disease.

Because periodontal disease is linked to heart disease and stroke, it is very important to seek regular treatment. Drs. Davis and Matthews will conduct thorough examinations to assess the exact condition of the teeth, gums, and jawbone. X-rays can be helpful in determining if bone loss is present in the upper and lower jaw.

Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is characterized by weak and brittle bones, low bone mass and a decrease in bone mineral density. Osteoporosis has been connected to periodontal disease in the following ways:
• Estrogen deficiency – Estrogen deficiency can increase the progression of oral bone loss. Low levels of estrogen further increase loss of fibers and tissues, which keep the teeth intact within the bone.
• Low mineral bone density – Inflammation from gum disease makes weakened bones more prone to break down, therefore, periodontitis can be very aggressive in patients with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are much less dangerous if they are diagnosed in the early stages. Once a diagnosis has been made, the Drs. Davis and Matthews will generally work with the patient’s doctor to ensure that both diseases are effectively controlled.

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy/ Menopause
When women experience the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause they are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Furthermore, pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia, premature labor, and delivering premature babies.
Drs. Davis and Matthews can provide dental education and recommendations to the pregnant women on effective home care, which can reduce risks that may affect her and/or her child’s health. Risks of periodontal disease can be reduced during pregnancy or menopause by performing good at-home oral care, stopping smoking, dietary changes and the intake of supplementary vitamins.

Periodontal Disease and Respiratory Disease
Oral bacteria and periodontal disease together are proven to worsen conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Research shows respiratory disease may be linked to periodontal disease in the following ways:
• During inhalation, oral bacteria can move into the lower respiratory tract causing bacterial infections.
• Inflammation in gum tissue can cause severe inflammation in the lungs overtime, which provoke pneumonia.

When respiratory disease and periodontal disease are both diagnosed in one individual, our Springfield MO dentists will work diligently to halt the periodontal disease progression. They may collaborate with your physician if needed to control any respiratory symptoms you may be experiencing and help reduce infections.

Excel Dental cares about your overall health and our team wants to keep you smiling healthy!