Health Issues Lee's Summit MO

Heart Disease & Stroke

Research has shown relationships between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. There are different theories to explain this relationship. In one theory, bacteria from the mouth enter the circulatory system and attach to the fatty wall of the blood vessel and contribute to clot formation which can lead to heart attack. In another theory, gum disease results in an inflammatory process that leads to the production of chemicals that can adversely affect the heart muscle and vasculature.

In short, there are many contributing factors to heart disease and these include genetics, smoking, diabetes, diet and lifestyle.  Today, gum disease can be added to the contributing factors list.  Since periodontal disease is preventable and can be treated, it is important to visit Dr. Morris if you have signs or symptoms of Periodontal Disease. Please visit, www.perio.org.

Diabetes

Individuals suffering from diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetics with poor metabolic control, have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. Periodontal disease is an infection and infections can impair an individuals ability to process insulin making it difficult to manage disease. Diabetics often have slow healing which can allow gum disease to progress more rapidly.

The control of oral disease is important to the overall health of diabetics. Extra steps should be taken to manage a diabetic’s periodontal disease and inflammation of the gums should be kept to a minimum. Dr. Morris recommends that diabetics have a comprehensive periodontal exam and a thorough teeth cleaning.  Should tartar be found below the gum or if bleeding gums are present, scaling and root planing may be needed. The good news is that well controlled diabetics can expect good treatment outcomes. Please visit, www.diabetes.org, and www.perio.org

Respiratory Disease

A relationship between periodontal bacteria and respiratory pneumonia has been identified. The theory is that bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs and infection begins. Also, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has associations with periodontal disease. Direct inhalation of organisms and reduced protection of mucosal secretions are two of the proposed mechanisms.

Overall, large numbers of oral bacteria appear to promote respiratory diseases. Dr. Morris recommends that individuals with reduced lung capacity or function be screened for Periodontal Disease so that oral bacteria can be kept to a minimum.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A study out of the University of Southern California suggests that inflammation plays a role in the severity of Dementia. One of the most common inflammatory diseases is periodontal disease.  Although more research is needed, the inflammation associated with gum disease continues to show relationships throughout the body.

Periodontal Disease and Tobacco

You are probably familiar with the associated links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer and heart disease. Current studies have now linked tobacco useage with periodontal disease. There is a greater incidence of calculus (tartar) formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums & teeth as well as greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth when one uses tobacco.

Furthermore, smoking masks the signs of gum disease; redness and bleeding are often not present. In addition, your chance of developing oral cancer increases with the use of tobacco, especially smokeless tobacco.

Chemicals in tobacco such as nicotine and tar, slow down healing and the predictability of success following  periodontal treatment.

Problems caused by tobacco include:

  • Lung disease
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • mouth sores
  • gum recession
  • loss of bone and teeth
  • bad breath
  • tooth staining
  • less success with periodontal treatment and with dental implants

Quitting tobacco will reduce the chance of developing these problems.