Periodontal disease, usually called gum disease, is a silently-destructive infection that comes from about 500 species of bacteria in your mouth that are known to also infect the organs of the body. These circulating bacteria cause an inflammatory response throughout the body.
Lafayette, LA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/26/2014 -- “According to published statistics, more than 60 million people in the U.S. show signs of periodontal (gum) disease, a slowly-developing bacterial infection that affects gum tissue and even the bone that anchors the teeth. When gum disease advances, enzymes excreted by the bacteria break down the gum tissue. Soon, gum tissues are breached and bacteria are free to enter the body’s circulatory system,” remarks Dr. Ken LeBlanc. For “at risk” patients, this additional stress is likely to have a complicating effect on pre-existing medical conditions.
The red flags of periodontal disease are easily noticeable. The most obvious signs are blood on your toothbrush after brushing, gums bleeding after flossing and aching, inflamed or puffy gums. Other indicators are pus around the base of the teeth and sharp pain when chewing or biting.
Periodontal disease triggers a series of chemical events that increase an inflammatory response. If the heart and arteries become swollen, it can result in blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke. In addition, periodontal bacteria might also adhere to the lining inside the heart, which may cause infective endocarditis (IE). Also called bacterial endocarditis (BE), it is an infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart lining, a heart valve or a blood vessel. People with good oral hygiene are less likely to develop endocarditis.
Researchers in Finland studied the correlation between the number of missing teeth lost due to gum disease in a person and the rate of diagnosed heart disease in the group. They concluded gum disease was found to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 25%. It increases the risk of stroke by 1,000%. “When you visit our hygienists to treat your gum disease, you are helping prevent cardiovascular problems from developing,” states Dr. LeBlanc.
While people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease, it hasn’t been clear which comes first. Two decades ago, scientists at Columbia University’s School of Public Health did research on individuals who were not diabetics. The results showed if a person had advanced periodontal disease, they doubled the chance of contracting diabetes.
Dr. Ken LeBlanc concludes, “It is no longer good enough to just keep watch on trouble spots in the gums. Instead, aggressively controlling periodontal disease will be a critical action step in preserving and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. In fact, it will mean that if our patients’ teeth and gums are not healthy, we can assume that they are not healthy overall.” If you develop any of the symptoms of periodontal disease call Dr. Ken LeBlanc at 337-406-9994 and make an appointment.
About Dr. LeBlanc
Dr. LeBlanc considers himself an artist in cosmetic dentistry because of his ability to create beautiful smiles for patients who thought nothing could be done for them. Dr. LeBlanc is a member of the following professional organizations: The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (general member since 1993), The Academy of General Dentistry (since 1979), The American Dental Association (since 1979), The Louisiana Dental Association (since 1979) and many more.