Tag Archives: periodontal disease

Maintaining good oral health is as simple as daily brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups at the dentist, but many people are under the misconception that the worst consequence for letting oral health slide is a cavity or two. While a cavity is indeed serious enough to require dental intervention, it is only one of many possible negative outcomes. One of the worst is periodontal disease, which if left untreated can result in tooth loss and additional health issues.

What is periodontal disease?

Inadequate brushing and flossing allows bacteria to thrive where the teeth meet the gums, and the subsequent build-up of plaque and tartar can result in a serious gum infection. Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, can also be caused by smoking. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or medications that reduce saliva flow are also significant risk factors. Periodontal disease occurs in four separate stages, and only the first stage is reversible—the rest will require advanced dental treatments. 

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis results from a build-up of plaque around the teeth, causing swelling and redness in the gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and occasional bad breath. At this point, the infection is mild and has not attacked the tooth root or bones, which means it is reversible. All you need to do is step up your brushing and flossing routine, and also get a deep professional cleaning from your dentist. 

Stage 2: Slight periodontal disease

Once periodontal disease progresses past gingivitis, it might not be reversible but it is still manageable. At this stage, the infection has spread to the bone and begins to attack bone tissues with stronger, highly aggressive bacteria. Symptoms of slight periodontal disease include increased swelling or redness of the gums and bleeding during brushing or flossing. Your dentist can diagnose this stage of the disease by probing the depths between your gums and teeth. If the depth is between four and five millimeters, you likely have slight periodontal disease that will need specialized cleaning procedures to treat.

Stage 3: Moderate periodontal disease

The symptoms of moderate periodontal disease are the same as slight periodontal disease, although probing depths will be deeper, between six and seven millimeters. With those deeper pockets between your teeth and gums, even more bacteria attacks your teeth and jawbone. At this stage, the bacteria can make its way into your bloodstream and immune system as well. The treatment for stages 2 and 3 is also the same: scaling and root planing, which are intense deep cleaning procedures that remove bacterial deposits far below the gumline. 

Stage 4: Advanced periodontal disease

If you ignore the symptoms of earlier stages of periodontal disease, you will shift into stage 4, which threatens a 50-90% chance of irreversible bone loss. Symptoms of this final stage include red, swollen gums that ooze pus, painful chewing, extreme cold sensitivity, severe bad breath, and loosened teeth. The only remedy at this point is periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy, which will clean out the deep pockets of bacteria beneath the gums and allow the infected tissue to heal.

Periodontal treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Daily brushing and flossing is the most effective way  to prevent periodontal disease and the related symptoms and health complications. But if you do have symptoms of earlier or later stages of gum disease, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible.

At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in gum health and treatments, so if you have questions about periodontal disease, check out our FAQ page or call us at (619) 543-0905 to schedule a consultation.


Gum Disease Sign of Cancer San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

We all know brushing and flossing are necessary for maintaining optimum oral health. But not everyone understands that failing to maintain proper oral hygiene can have serious consequences for our overall health, including the increased risk of certain cancers associated with gum disease. According to the Center for Disease Control,  47.2% of adults age 30 and over have some form of gum disease. For adults 65 and over, that number increases dramatically to 70.1%. These numbers are of particular concern because of links between gum disease and more serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and esophageal and gastric cancer. 

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the warning signs of gum disease? 

Gum disease is the result of infection and inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth. When left untreated, the inflammation causes the gums and bone structure to deteriorate, which can lead to oral health complications. The signs and symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breath

Smoking, poor diet, genetics, and poor oral hygiene can all increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. 

How is gum disease linked to serious health problems?

Periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the gums. The bacteria present in gum disease can travel to different parts of the body, triggering inflammation and infection, and significantly increasing the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Researchers are still working to understand the exact connections between gum disease and specific health problems, but generally systemic inflammation and infection play a role. 

  • Diabetes – Research shows a distinct relationship between gum disease and diabetes: the elevated blood sugar levels in those with diabetes increase the risk of developing gum disease because it diminishes the body’s ability to fight off the bacteria.  Conversely, gum disease can also contribute to higher levels of blood glucose. 
  • Heart disease and stroke – Scientists suspect that the bacteria associated with gum disease triggers inflammation in the arteries, which causes the blood vessels to narrow, restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.  Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions.

The links between gum disease and esophageal and gastric cancers

In a long-term study involving nearly 150,000 men and women, researchers examined possible links between periodontal disease with tooth loss and gastric and esophageal cancers. In a 22-28-year follow up, they discovered 199 cases of esophageal cancer and 238 cases of gastric cancer. The results of this preliminary research suggests that a history of gum disease with tooth loss increases in the risk of developing esophageal cancer by 43% and gastric cancer by 52%.  Further research is still needed to confirm and understand the connections, but early theories involve periodontal pathogens and poor oral hygiene. 

This does not mean that every person with gum disease will develop cancer, but it does serve as an important reminder that gum disease is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health in the long-term.

At San Diego Periodontics, we can help you maintain optimum oral health

With proper oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, you can prevent, stop, or even reverse the symptoms of gum disease. Brushing and flossing regularly helps remove plaque and food particles, which in turn keeps the oral bacteria down. Regular visits to San Diego Periodontics will help identify and treat early symptoms before they cause more serious health complications. If you have bleeding gums, red tender gums, bad breath, or loose teeth, you may have periodontal disease. We can help.

Give us a call today at (619) 543-0905 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.

link-between-gum-disease-and-heart-disease-san-diego-periodontics-&-implant-dentistryGum disease is a serious dental condition that can lead to further oral health problems if left untreated. But recent research indicates that gum disease can also have far-reaching effects on your overall health, especially the health of your heart. In fact, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, along with increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here’s how:

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums caused when bacteria-filled plaque builds up around the teeth. The most common symptoms are red, swollen, or tender gums that can bleed easily or appear to pull away from the teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to your dentist. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and a breakdown of the gum tissue.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease refers to a broad set of medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke, and it is usually caused by the narrowing or blockage of vital blood vessels with another type of plaque. Arterial plaque is made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances, and it can build up around artery walls and restrict the flow of blood. If a chunk of plaque breaks off and clogs the artery entirely, a heart attack will result.

How does gum disease affect your heart?

While arterial plaque can be caused by many factors, most commonly smoking and an unhealthy diet, it can also form as part of the body’s natural response to infection. After finding oral bacteria present in arterial plaque, scientists suspect the oral bacteria present in patients with gum disease can travel through the body, stick to existing arterial plaque, and trigger an inflammatory response. The inflammation can cause blood vessels to swell and narrow blood flow, increasing the risk of clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Does gum disease always lead to heart disease?

Not everyone who has gum disease will develop heart problems, and many people with heart disease have healthy gums, so there is not a definitive cause-and-effect link between the two health issues. However, many recent studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of developing heart disease. It’s important to practice daily oral hygiene, eat a nutritious diet, and get regular exercise in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. 

Is gum disease linked to other medical conditions?

Although much more research is needed to fully understand how gum disease affects the rest of the body, some studies have discovered that bacteria in the mouth can move to the lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia. Additionally, there are possible links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer such as kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers.

Gum disease treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you are showing early signs of gum disease, it’s crucial to start treatment immediately before the periodontal bacteria spreads through the rest of your body. At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in periodontal health and can help you get the treatment you need. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 543-0905.

patient at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry suffering from periodontal disease

One thing in this constantly fractured world all people have in common is the need to take care of our teeth. No matter where you live or what language you speak, as long as you have teeth in your mouth it is necessary to brush and floss them on a regular basis. If you fail to do so, the result can be long-lasting damage to your teeth, gums, and mouth. However, the dangers of poor oral hygiene go far beyond cavities and gum disease. Everything in our body is an interconnected ecosystem, and developing gum disease can negatively affect the health of your entire body. Research has shown a strong correlation between periodontal disease and heart issues, diabetes and other health problems. Continue reading

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

When a person with good general health loses a tooth due to periodontal disease, injury, or another infection, a dental implant is an excellent, safe, and long-term solution. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a Board Certified Specialist in Periodontology and Dental Implant Surgery inserts into the jaw in order to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. Implants feel and look natural, and once the process is complete, they function exactly like natural teeth. Implants can also assist in saving other teeth, because they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support. Bone grafting may be a necessary part of the process when it comes to inserting a dental implant. Continue reading