Periodontal disease is an infectious disease that damages the gums and bone that supports the teeth. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can get into the bloodstream and affect the overall health of the individual. In working closely with our patients to treat periodontal disease, we are really working to improve the systemic health and well-being of our patients. Below are listed some examples of how periodontal disease can affect overall health. A. Coronary artery disease There is a strong relationship between myocardial infarction and periodontal disease. Scientists are now finding that the bacteria which cause periodontal disease can enter the blood stream after eating or toothbrushing. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria can trigger platelets, the small clotting cells in the blood stream to form clumps in the blood vessels of the heart thereby restricting blood flow to various areas of the heart. One study reported in the Journal of Periodontology showed that patients were 50% more likely to have heart disease if they also had periodontitis
Besides being putting patients at risk for developing coronary artery disease, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease can cause a life threatening heart infections known as bacterial endocarditis. Patients who have a history of rheumatic heart disease, mitral valve prolapse, prosthetic heart valves, or a history of having had bacterial endocarditis in the past are at increased risk for developing endocarditis and must be placed on antibiotics before undergoing dental treatment.
A concern in the profession at present is that in patients with chronic lung problems such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, or emphysema that bacteria from the mouth can be inspired into the lungs causing severe even life-threatening infections in the lungs.
Low birth weight babies
While infant mortality has decreased dramatically in recent years, low birth weight is still associated with many problems for infants. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are at increased risk for delivering low birth weight babies.
have shown that the insulin requirement of patients with diabetes is often reduced following treatment of periodontal disease. On the other hand, diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes can accelerate the damage caused by peridontal disease. It is important that diabetics maintain good oral health. And treatment of existing periodontal disease can have positive effects on the health of diabetic patients.
Research has shown that in response to periodontal disease a diffuse inflammatory response develops in the upper jawbone. Periodontal disease, therefore, can be a source of chronic sinus congestion, which can resolve in response to treatment of the underlying periodontal disease.
Patients who have had prosthetic joint replacements are at increased risk for developing infections associated with prosthetic joints. Prosthetic joints can be infected by the bacteria that cause periodontal disease which gain access to the systemic circulation. If a prosthetic joint become infected, it is nearly impossible to clear the infection and the prosthetic joint can be lost.
Researchers have long suspected a relationship between periodontal disease and osteoporosis. The exact nature of the link has not yet been established, but it at least appears that osteoporosis may make an individual more susceptible to bone loss caused by periodontal disease., and that vice-versa tooth loss caused by periodontal disease may be a risk factor in developing osteoporosis.