Medical Complications

Systemic Disease Links

Recent research has shown an association between periodontal infections and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, low birth weight babies, and respiratory diseases. It is now, more than ever before, important to have periodontal treatment not just your teeth, but your overall systemic health.

Heart Attack and Stroke

Recent research has shown that people with periodontal disease are 4 times as likely to suffer from Heart Attacks and Stokes as those without periodontal disease.

Illustrating the link between dental and heart healthRecent research has shown an association between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, low birth weight babies, and respiratory diseases. It is now, more than ever before, important to have periodontal treatment not just your teeth, but your overall systemic health.

It has been shown that oral bacteria can enter the blood stream, attach to the inside of blood vessels and stimulate an inflammatory reaction. This can contribute to the formation of plaques and blood clots. Heart disease is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the arteries due to the buildup of fatty plaques. The blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow causing a decrease in oxygen to the heart which may lead to heart attacks. If the blood clots break loose, they can completely obstruct the blood flow to the brain to cause a Stroke.

Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditic may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your Periodontist and Cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Osteoporosis

Recent research has explored the notion that people with skeletal osteoporosis may also have greater bone loss in the jaw. Some studies have suggested that a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw, however, the overall research is not conclusive.

We do know that hormone replacement therapy does offer protection against periodontal disease. Studies have shown that estrogen supplementation may lower gingival inflammation and the rate of periodontal tissue attachment loss in women with signs of osteoporosis.

Preterm Low Birth Weight Births

Pregnant women with untreated active periodontal disease have been found to be 7.5 times more likely to have a preterm low birth weight babies. The theory is that periodontal disease stimulates an increase in biological fluids that induce labor prematurely.

You already know that one should refrain from alcohol, smoking and certain drugs during pregnancy. With this new research information, one should have their periodontal status evaluated and treated before considering pregnancy. Periodontal health can result in a healthy happy baby like my nephew Stephen and my niece Jena.

StephenJena

Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes. Periodontal disease has been considered one of the complications of uncontrolled diabetes. Recent research also suggests that periodontal disease can influence a patient's diabetic control. Treatment of periodontal disease may help a control diabetes.

Due to this symbiotic relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes, if you are diabetic, you should have your periodontal status evaluated and treated.

Respiratory Diseases

People with periodontal disease may also have a greater incidence of respiratory diseases, such as COPD and pneumonia. Recent research suggests that bacteria found in periodontal diseased mouths, can be aspirated into the lower respiratory tract. This can cause infections or worsen of existing lung conditions. Studies have shown dental intervention and treatment focusing and treatment of periodontal disease and maintaining good oral hygiene can lower the incidence of respiratory infections for those that are at risk.