Dr. Linda Leon, Board-Certified
Periodontal Care of Monroe, NY

PiPeriodontal Cari. Linda LeonDr. DDr. Linda Leon,
r. Linda Leon, Board-Certified
138 Stage Rd., Monroe, NY  10950
Phone: (845) 783-4490
Can Periodontal Disease be a potential risk factor in the development of Systemic health problems?
 
     Recent scientific research indicates that Periodontal Disease may be a significant risk factor for a number of systemic diseases.  Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria (germs).  These germs have the potential to escape from the infected gums, travel in the bloodstream, and become widespread throughout the body.  The germs also create inflammation, which is known be a significant factor in several diseases.  Additional research connecting mouth health and overall health is currently being done. 

Heart Disease:
     When germs from the periodontal pocket enter the bloodstream, the heart is one of the most susceptible organs.  The periodontal bacteria can cause small blood clots and contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) inside the arteries.  The atherosclerosis is responsible for heart attacks and stroke.  Researchers have found that the risk of coronary artery disease is twice as high in people who have periodontal disease compared to those with healthy gums.  If you know that you have heart disease, it is especially important for you to have good periodontal health.

Stroke:
      Researchers have shown that people missing some or all of their teeth, or who have significant loss of bone and tissue surrounding their teeth, may be at an increased risk for having a stroke.

Diabetes:
     For years, we've known that diabetics are more likely to have periodontal disease than non-diabetics.  Recently, research has emerged showing that the relationship goes both ways.  Having periodontal disease may also make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.   Severe periodontal disease in diabetics contributes to increased periods of time when your body functions with high sugar levels.  This puts the diabetic patient at increased risk for more severe complications, such as involvement of the blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.  We know that controlling periodontal disease will help improve control of your diabetes. 

Respiratory Disease:
     People with periodontal disease seem to be more susceptible to pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

Premature Birth:
     If you have periodontal disease and are pregnant, a recent study showed that you are 7-8 times more likely to deliver a pre-term, low birth weight baby than mothers with healthy gums.  Periodontal disease is an infection, and all infections are cause for concern in pregnant women because of the potential risk to the baby's health.  Even if you are just planning to become pregnant, it is important for you to start with healthy gums, and maintain them throughout your pregnancy. 

Cancer:
     According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men with periodontal disease are 14% more likely to develop cancer than are men with healthy gums.  Men with periodontal disease may be 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer; 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer; and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers than men with healthy gums.
 
What all of this means for you:
     New research is eroding the traditional concept that oral infections, such as periodontal disease, are localized only to the mouth.  Evidence shows that there is a strong relationship between oral diseases and systemic diseases.  We are learning that without good periodontal health, general health may also be affected.
     It is now clear that prevention and treatment of periodontal disease will not only maintain dental health, but can help to improve overall health as well.  And, as with all other diseases, early treatment and continued care of periodontal disease are your best defense.
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