Periodontal Disease - Heart Disease and Stroke
The Mouth and Body Connection
Summary of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (commonly known as periodontitis, gum disease or jawbone disease) is a chronic condition and without proper professional treatment the result is jawbone loss and tooth loss. It is the most common cause of tooth loss. A bacterial infection occurs from bacteria that colonize above and below the gum line and causes gum pockets. This bacteria enters your bloodstream and travels throughout your bloodstream and travels throughout the body. Intra-orally the infection continues and the gum pocket becomes more inflamed and deeper causing the gum tissue to detach from the root of the tooth and infect the underlying jawbone. At Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics a periodontal evaluation is performed and Dr. Drone will develop a periodontal therapy program specific for you.
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Dr. Drone is a native of Wheatfield, IN and has been practicing dentistry since 2003 and opened his private practice in Valparaiso, IN in 2007. Dr. Drone earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Indiana University School of Dentistry and earned his advanced specialty degrees in Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics from Indiana University School of Dentistry and Medicine.
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The Mouth Body Connection and Periodontal Disease
Research has proven that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and osteoporosis. Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation above and below gum-line, the presence of disease-causing bacteria, bleeding of gum tissue when brushing or flossing, gum pockets and bone loss. The bacterial infection in the mouth can spread throughout the body and lead to several problematic health issues. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene, preventing periodontal disease or reducing the progression of periodontal disease through dental treatments will have benefits beyond preventing gum disease and bone loss. It can prevent you from the chance of developing another serious health conditions.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease-Stroke Connection
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. Dr. Drone closely works with a team of specialists, a periodontist and a cardiologist to care for individual with both diseases. Routine oral health care exams and following your periodontal treatment for periodontal disease can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. The link between heart disease and periodontal is well researched and patients are twice more likely to suffer from heart disease than individuals with healthy mouths. The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease are discussed below.
- Oral Bacteria: There are many strains of periodontal bacteria, but only certain strains have deleterious effects to the cardiovascular system. These strains enter the blood stream and attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries. This attachment leads to clot formation and increased risk to several issues including a heart attack or stroke.
- Inflammation: Inflammation caused by periodontal disease causes severe inflammation in the gum tissue causing an increase of white blood cells and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Cardiovascular research studies have shown that CRP is associated with heart disease. Periodontal infections trigger and elevation of CRP and intensify the natural inflammatory response. Bacteria from periodontal disease may enter the blood stream and cause inflammation which triggers the liver to produce extra amounts of CRP which causes inflammation in arteries resulting in a possible blood clot, heart attack or stroke.
- Infectious susceptibility: Individuals with high levels or oral bacteria may have weaker immune systems and inflammatory responses which can have harmful cardiovascular effects resulting in cardiovascular disease.
It is essential that individuals with cardiovascular disease have routine oral health care exams at a minimum of two times a year at Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics. Dr. Drone will evaluate the following: medical history, dental history, dental radiographs, saliva sampling, the condition of your gums, the condition of your teeth and your jawbone to assess any risk factors for periodontal disease.
Dr. Drone will design a periodontal treatment plan with the hygienist and perform the necessary non-surgical periodontal procedures:
- removal of the tarter from the teeth
- removal of tarter above and below the gum line
- removal of bacteria on the roots of the teeth
- removal of bacteria in the gum pockets
- application of antibiotics into the gum pockets
- prescription for medicated mouthwash
- placement of fluoride
Our hygienists will discuss oral health care instructions and recommend and hygiene products with you at the end of your appointment. At each oral health care appointment Dr. Drone will re-evaluate your periodontal plan and make any necessary modifications if needed.