There are both dental and medical consequences to periodontal disease.
This section covers these topics briefly. To skip to the medical
consequences section, click here.
The Dental Consequences of Periodontal Disease
75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal disease. When
your gums and bone are damaged by periodontal infection there is
less support for your teeth. As this support disappears, your teeth
first become loose and then can be lost. When your dentist or periodontist
recommends periodontal treatment, it is important to get started
Natural Teeth Must Be Replaced
If the infection continues, you can start to lose your teeth, one
at a time. These lost teeth will have to be replaced with dental
work, such as:
- Dental implants
- Partial dentures
- Full dentures
If tooth loss continues, it can lead to dentures. Many patients
don't understand the full consequences of wearing dentures. There
can be many problems with dentures including:
Medical Consequences of Periodontal Disease
- Inability to eat certain foods
- Lowered ability to feel and taste foods
- Lisping or
clacking when speaking
- Bad breath or smell
- Pain or discomfort
- The look of dentures
- Self-consciousness and embarrassment
- Looking old
- Having to remove and soak them at night
- Your spouse seeing you without
teeth at night
"People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they
don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection
that can release bacteria into the bloodstream" - Dr. Robert Genco, editor Journal of Periodontology
Periodontal disease is caused by infectious bacteria which get
into the gums around your teeth. These bacteria are then released
into the blood stream and can affect other parts of your body. Periodontal
disease has recently been linked with a number of other medical problems.
It is important to have periodontal disease treated before this
bacteria can build up within your bloodstream and increase your risk
of medical problems. To date, periodontal disease has been correlated
with the following medical conditions:
Heart Disease & Heart Attack
Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are
2.7 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.
Studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are
3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
Women with periodontal disease are 7-8 times more likely to give
birth prematurely to a low birth-weight baby.
Periodontal infection can raise blood sugar in diabetic patients.
Periodontal treatment often results in a reduced need for insulin.
Periodontal infection in the mouth can be breathed in and increase
the severity of such respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis
Your Bacteria Can Be Transmitted
Research using DNA testing has found that periodontal bacteria can
be transmitted from parent to child and spouse to spouse.
Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem
Periodontal disease is no longer thought to be just a dental problem.
Researchers are finding many correlations between periodontal infection
and serious medical problems.
Some Patients are at Higher Risk
These correlations are particularly serious for those patients who
are in a higher risk category such as:
Those having a personal or family history of:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Premature childbirth
- Respiratory diseases
Those having higher risk lifestyles, including:
- Chronic stress
- Sedentary and overweight
- Frequent colds, flu, etc.
Higher Risk Patients
If you have been told you have a periodontal infection, or some of
its symptoms, it is vital that you seek evaluation and treatment.