An untreated dental abscess can land you in the hospital with a
severe systemic infection. Intense pain or swelling is often your
Gum or periodontal disease is more insidious because it is
usually painless, and thus can go unnoticed and untreated till it is
too late and your teeth become loose. Periodontal disease is a
chronic low-grade infection caused by bacteria in your mouth. It
destroys the bone that supports your teeth.
More importantly, the relationship between gum disease and
chronic systemic diseases is an area of current medical research.
The American Heart Association recently issued a statement that
atherosclerotic vascular disease and periodontal disease share the
same risk factors and inflammatory cells.
Although present research does not suggest that periodontal
treatment can prevent heart disease, it does reduce systemic
According to the Center for Disease Control, there is also a
two-way link between diabetes and periodontal disease. People with
diabetes are two or three times more likely to develop periodontal
disease, and diabetics with periodontal disease are much less
successful in regulating blood sugar levels.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 50
percent of the adult population has inflammatory gum disease.
A complete dental exam will determine if you have gum disease.
The symptoms that you may recognize at home are gums that are
puffy, bleed easily and pull away from the teeth. Your family and
friends may notice an unpleasant mouth odor.
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Like all chronic conditions, periodontal disease cannot be cured
but can be successfully managed with improved home care and regular
professional dental cleanings. The goal of treatment is to eliminate
or at least interrupt the bacterial infection so that it does not
create a chronic inflammatory response that diminishes the bone
support of the teeth and also complicates the management of
diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions.
"Heart association says no causative link between periodontal and
heart disease," ADA News, April 23, 2012, Page 18
"Working Together to Manage Diabetes: A Guide for Pharmacists,
Podiatrists, Optometrists, and Dental Professionals, 2007," CDC
National Diabetes Education Program, Page 12.
[By LEE GURGA, DDS,
Apple Dental Center]
Lincoln Daily News disclaimer
Articles provided to Lincoln Daily News by Dr. Lee Gurga,
Apple Dental Center, are for information and education purposes
only. Articles are not intended to offer specific medical, dental or
legal advice to anyone. No guarantees or warranties are made
regarding any of the information contained in these articles. The
information contained here should be used in consultation with a
provider of your choice as needed, and no doctor-patient
relationship has been established.