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Teeth and gum health

February 17, 2022 Family dentistry Prevention is better than cure

Poor oral health is extremely common in the community. Approximately 15 percent of adults between 20 and 50 years old and 30 percent of adults over 50 have Periodontal Disease.

There are very few patients who are able to keep their teeth and gums in optimal health beyond three or four months following a professional clean. Soft plaque may begin to build up on teeth within a few days of having them cleaned.

As poor oral health progresses, it has the ability to substantially affect the quality of life.

For many years, researchers have shown diseased gums in patients with severe periodontal disease compared to patients with healthy gums, release significantly higher levels of bacterial by-products, such as endotoxins, into the blood stream. These harmful bacterial components in the blood can then travel to other organs in the body, such as the heart, and cause harm.

Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibres and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. When this happens, gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with plaque and even more infection.  As the disease progresses, these pockets deepen even further, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed and the teeth eventually become loose.

A recent study was undertaken to identify the association between periodontal disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease (heart failure, stroke, vascular dementia), cardiometabolic disorders (high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes), autoimmune conditions (arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, psoriasis), and mental ill-health (depression, anxiety and serious mental illness)

Approximately 64,000 patients with an average age of 45years were studied. In this group, periodontal diseases were shown to be associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular, cardiometabolic, autoimmune diseases and mental ill health.

Importantly, the study showed patients with a history of gum disease were almost 40% more likely to develop mental ill health.

Studies such as this reinforce the need for early identification of gum disease, early treatment of gum disease and regular dental appointments.