Gum disease is a common infectious disease. Even if your smile looks healthy, there is a chance you may have periodontal disease. In fact, estimates are as high as 85% of the adult population has some level of periodontal disease. It is the most common chronic infection known to man. Therefore, controlling this disease is critical if you want to keep your teeth. Now we also know that periodontal disease is critical to your overall health because the pathogens that cause gum disease can spread from the mouth to the rest of your body. There are many links to systemic problems such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, premature birth in pregnant women and kidney disease.
Today, there are ways to test whether one has the genetic marker for periodontal disease and there is also a bacterial DNA salivary test which assesses the specific type of destructive periodontal bacteria in the mouth that causes the disease. By knowing the results, we can do targeted treatment which allows us to manage the disease better and which accelerates healing and can minimize systemic disease.
Dentists can work closely with physicians to screen patients with periodontal disease for certain blood markers such as Vitamin D, C Reactive Protein levels and diabetes markers. Proper nutritional habits are also critical to be aware of. This along with appropriate dental treatment can reduce inflammation and reduce risk of systemic disease. A lifetime of commitment to reducing oral inflammation can go a long way in keeping one healthy. You and your family will greatly benefit from this.