Most of us know why we put ourselves at the mercy of the dental hygienist a couple of times a year, right? We want to keep our teeth! What we may not understand is how regular cleanings and checkups by dentists such as Dr. Rearden at Village Family Dental in Myrtle Beach SC really help keep us healthy. Medical science is now seeing links between periodontal disease and other kinds of diseases, many autoimmune in nature. In some cases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or RA, it would appear that the link is very strong. According to one German study, patients with RA may be 8 times more likely to have periodontal disease than a person without. In patients with both RA and periodontal disease, treatments for periodontal disease ameliorated RA symptoms as well, suggesting that the inflammation from periodontal disease aggravates RA.
Periodontal disease as an added complication of diabetes has been studied extensively for the past 50 or so years. It’s known that in children with similar plaque levels, diabetics with type I diabetes have higher rates of gingival inflammation than those with normal blood sugar, and teenagers with type I diabetes are five times more likely to develop perodontitis than those who are not diabetic. Type 2 diabetics have been found to have higher rates of gingivitis as well. Diabetes can cause abnormalities in blood vessels, and diabetics also produce more chemicals like interleukins that also raise the chance of inflammation. These problems were most pronounced in those with the worst glucose control, and show some improvement with proper treatment. For diabetics, just like everyone else, dental care from a highly qualified dentist such as Dr. Rearden of Village Family Dental of Myrtle Beach SC can help head problems off before it’s too late.
There are other diseases that often go along with periodontal disease and it is still not clear whether periodontal disease might be causitive in some cases. Severe periodontal disease equals a greater risk for heart problems. Stroke and coronary artery disease can be linked to periodontal disease as well. The list of diseases that have had suggested links to periodontal disease is very long, and includes such things as osteoporosis, cancer, Chrohn’s disease, MS and lupus. It’s also not only believed that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontal disease but that periodontal disease can worsen symptoms of diabetes, breathing in the bacteria raises risks for respiratory disease and can worsen existing respiratory problems, and it increases the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight infants for pregnant women.
So what can you do? If you have problems that may contribute to a higher risk of periodontal disease, talk to Dr. Rearden of Village Family Dentistry of Myrtle Beach SC about your options for keeping yourself as healthy as possible. Regular dental cleanings are a great start. While not every patient is the same, periodontal disease can often trace its beginnings to plaque on your teeth. Plaque that isn’t cleaned off becomes tartar. Tartar causes inflammation, which leads to bacteria growth. Periodontal disease can be sneaky, and regular checkups by your dentist will help identify problems as soon as possible, and help prevent further problems. Your health depends on good dental care!
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