Medical Links

Treatment of the oral/systemic link to periodontal disease

Did you know that gum disease is linked to many systemic conditions? Some of these conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Heart attack (this is a big one since now they have studies showing CAUSATION of periodontal bacteria to an estimated cause of half of all heart attacks)
  • Diabetes-this is currently the #3 killer in America and is on its way to being #1. 1 out of 2 Americans already have diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke (the leading cause of disability)
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s (they are calling Alzheimer’s Type III Diabetes)
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility and erectile dysfunction
  • Cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, breast, esophageal, oral, pancreatic.
  • A lowered immune system
  • Increased risk of lung disease and pneumonia
  • Stomach ulcers

Some facts about diabetes:

  • It is the leading cause of blindness and amputations
  • Diabetes has the highest cost (followed by cardiovascular disease). Projected costs pertaining to diabetes are 1.2 TRILLION dollars in 2030.
  • People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, stroke and heart attacks.
  • People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without diabetes. It may be more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. Even having a “deep cleaning” done has been shown to lower HbA1c levels. Diabetes and periodontal disease are a two-way street and treatment of one usually will lead to improvements in the other. Some call periodontal disease the sixth complication.

What is the link of periodontal disease to these diseases?

In one word it is INFLAMMATION.

How can you help?

Periodontal disease is a “medical condition with a dental solution” (as coined by Bale/Doneen of the Bale/Doneen method). Dentistry saves lives. There are studies that show that treating gum disease means lower annual medical costs and hospital admissions. The best treatment for a condition is to prevent it from happening in the first place. We are here to help in any way we can.

Other important areas:

  • If you are pregnant, the presence of periodontal disease may put you at risk for having a premature, low birth weight baby. If you are planning to become pregnant, a periodontal evaluation is an important component of prenatal care.
  • Smokers have an increased risk of developing more severe periodontal disease and losing more teeth than nonsmokers. Smoking cessation is one of our goals during treatment. Please ask about the many ways that we can aid you in quitting the habit.
  • There may be a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased, which means the teeth no longer have a solid foundation. However, hormone replacement therapy may offer some protection. There are many side effects to the bisphosphonate medications. If you are considering trying one, please discuss it with your dentist or Dr. Berube.
  • Those with rheumatoid arthritis may be more likely to have periodontal disease with moderate to severe jawbone loss. Both rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease are due to damage caused by the immune system and chronic inflammation.

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Our relationship with medicine:

Most people are not aware that there is an intimate relationship between the mouth and the rest of your body. In the past, dentistry was viewed as a separate entity altogether and were known to be just "tooth doctors". This is not so in this day and age. In general, we can be the first to help diagnose conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • HIV/Aids
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

Because these and other conditions often first manifest themselves in the oral cavity, we are in a unique position to investigate any abnormal findings and diagnose a condition before you may experience symptoms. A thorough oral examination is performed to check for any abnormalities.

Our goal is to make sure that you not only have healthy gums, but that you have a healthy body as well.