A History of Gum Disease

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Gum Disease is a condition that is not new to many of us; whether it’s gingivitis, or the later stages of advanced periodontitis, most people have experienced words of caution from their dentist and plans for either prevention or halting progression. Periodontal disease is related to bacteria and plaque/tartar buildup in the mouth, and none of these are recent developments. So if our ancestors did suffer from gum disease – how was it resolved prior to modern medicine? There are some geographical variations to be considered when you note that populations spread around the globe had no means (or motivation) to spread their medical discoveries with one another. We will use the examples of ancient Egypt and Japan to explore just a few ways periodontal disease was found and treated before modern medical discoveries.

Ancient People

In ancient Egypt, as an example, modern researchers have a lot of material they can analyze, due to their burial practices that aimed to preserve their remains. Chronic periodontal disease, as it happens, was similarly pervasive in ancient times as we find it today; however, the causes were both similar and different. While gum disease is ultimately caused by the same bacteria and buildup, in ancient Egypt the culprit for was likely nutritional deficiencies caused by periods of famine and drought, which are less prevalent today, though certainly not absent (Forshaw). Evidence suggests their medical knowledge to treat the ensuing diseases was limited, and primarily limited to topical preparations or mouthwash applied to the diseased tissues for short-term relief, rather than long-term treatment. It also appears treatment was targeted toward reducing tooth mobility, rather than addressing the root of the issue.

Turning our attention to another part of the world, there can be significant evidence found from remains in Japan, from a period cited as around 14,500 BC to 12,000 BC. In these ancient peoples there is a significant presence of bone resorption found in older individuals, indicating the presence of periodontal disease. However in this time period (nearly 16,000 years ago!) ‘older individuals’ could refer to some no older than the age of 15. More interestingly yet, 15 year olds could show the same signs of periodontal advancement that we would not see for 20-30 more years in modern populations; it is suggested that this is due to aging faster as a consequence of the physical stresses of their time that we are not accustomed to today (Fujita). Many times, these diseases went untreated due to the infeasibility of extractions or other corrective measures.

Information gained…

There are few conclusions to be drawn from this information, but it certainly is interesting to learn the ways we compare and differ to our predecessors! It is, however, safe to say that a great number of variables play into the prevalence rates of periodontal disease, as well as how that disease is treated. We can also safely acknowledge that we are fortunate to live in a world where we not only understand the causes and stages of gum disease, as well as how to provide efficient treatment to minimize damage and pain. Certainly a few things to think about the next time we are considering skipping the floss (:

Forshaw, R.J. “Dental Health and Disease in Ancient Egypt.” Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 25 Apr. 2009. Web.
Hisashi Fujita (2012). Periodontal Diseases in Anthropology, Periodontal Diseases – A Clinician’s Guide, Dr. Jane Manakil (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-818-2, InTech. Web.

 

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372

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Healthy Teeth Make for a Healthy Heart

Blog Title- Gum Disease

It’s your dentist’s job to tell you about the health of your mouth, and we know that can get a little dry. But did you realize your oral health may actually affect your heart health?? Although researchers are still establishing exactly how this connection works, there is a lot of evidence to suggest those with gum disease, an advanced form of gingivitis, can actually lead to an increased chance of heart attack or stroke. Although we may not know exactly why gum disease can lead to heart problems, we want our patients to know how to avoid serious health complications (spoiler alert: it has a lot to do with regular brushing and flossing!).

Given the complexity of the human body, it’s an incredibly difficult task to identify and explain direct processes of cause-and-effect; as such, we have been unsuccessful at explaining precisely why and how gum disease and heart disease are linked, but we are aware there is a connection and that it’s in the interest of our health and yours to be familiar with the long-term risks poor dental health can have on the body. Succinctly put, there are tremendous amounts of data that have demonstrated those with compromised oral health and long-term periodontal inflammation are at a significantly higher risk to develop heart disease and increase the likelihood of the individual to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.

At present, the culprits most suspected of triggering this chain reaction are bacteria and inflammation. Some researchers have suggested that due to the vascular nature of the gums, infection and bacteria below the gum line can become dislodged and enter the blood stream with disruption. When this happens it can: trigger inflammation through the body, damage blood vessels, or possibly form clots.

Your blood stream is a direct line to your heart, and the bacteria associated with gum disease can easily find its way into your heart and then cause significant damage. Inflammation, on the other hand, leads to hardened arteries and makes it more difficult for blood flow to reach your heart; this additional strain can easily trigger a heart attack, particularly if you were already susceptible in the first place. Gum disease comes with a handful of standard symptoms, and inflammation is one of the most common. Left untreated, it isn’t too far a stretch to suggest the long-term implications can move beyond your oral health and affect the rest of your body’s systems.

Ultimately the relationship between gum disease and heart disease is primarily based off long-standing conditions; that is to say, if you are diagnosed with gingivitis and visit your dentist to resolve the issue, there isn’t reason to worry about suffering a heart attack. It’s when problems are allowed to progress and fester that there is cause for concern in regards to the long-term damage that may be happening in the body without receiving proper treatment and care.

A study titled Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States* estimated that 47.2 percent of American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent. It’s an easy thing to miss by yourself, and your dentist can always give you more information about your health. If you are following proper home care treatment, visiting the dentist every 6 months, and have not been informed of any serious issues by the doctor, then there is little cause for concern. As always, if you have absolutely any worries at all about the health of your gums or overall oral health, then call our office for an appointment. It’s always easier and more affordable to treat the problem before it is allowed to take hold. Keep brushing and flossing!

*Eke, P. I., Dye, B. A., Wei, L., Thornton-Evans, G. O., & Genco, R. J. (2012, August 30). Prevalence of periodontitis in adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010 [Electronic version]. Journal of Dental Research, 91(10), 914-920. doi:10.1177/0022034512457373

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372

Your Missing Teeth Hurt More Than Your Confidence

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A significant portion of modern dentistry is framed around cosmetically improving your smile. Having a smile you can be proud of is invaluable, and a smile that hurts your confidence can affect your life immeasurably. Stained and yellow teeth damage your ego, but missing teeth can damage the structure of your jaw, the alignment of your other teeth, and may come with a myriad of long-term and serious consequences.

It only takes one missing tooth to catalyze bone loss in the jaw, which will continue to recede at an exponential rate for as long as the problem goes unattended. The effects of which can be seen by deteriorating facial structure, subsequent damage to the gum tissue, and if untreated for a long period of time: the lower part of the face may begin to collapse, as they are lacking the support of teeth and the now-missing infrastructure of the jaw.

Missing teeth are not uncommon, in fact, 60 to 70 percent of the adult population is missing at least one tooth; the back molars are typically the first to go. It can be easy to rationalize forgoing cosmetic purchases, particularly those related to dentistry – but repairing your missing teeth is not the expense to skip, and the longer it is left untreated, the more expensive and difficult to fix the matter becomes.

Do yourself, your smile, and your long-term health a favor by making your periodontal consultation to set yourself up for a lifetime of happy, and more importantly healthy teeth.

 

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372

Plaque VS. Tartar

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Plaque and tartar are not one in the same.  Tartar is more severe than plaque.  Tartar can become a serious issue if not quickly taken care of.  Here are the differences to help sort out any type of confusion between the two.

Plaque is an accumulation of bacteria and particles that build up naturally on the tooth surfaces.

Plaque:
– Sticky
– Colorless
– Full of bacteria

When sugar comes in contact with plaque, acids are released.  These acids then attack the tooth enamel causing it to break down which in turn can lead to…. CAVITIES!  When the tooth enamel is broken down, not only do cavities form, this can then contribute to early stages of gum disease, such as Gingivitis.

The best way to prevent any of the above issues from occurring is to take good care of your teeth, gums and mouth!  Brushing and flossing are key components to getting rid of plaque and clearing off the sugary acids from the teeth.

If plaque build-up remains on your teeth, it begins to harden forming tartar

Tartar:
– Tough
– Hard
– Crusty
– Traps stains
– Causes discoloration

The simple act of daily brushing and flossing will not remove tartar.  After plaque has formed in to tartar, the next step would be getting to the dentist.  Your dentist is the only one that will be able to remove the tartar from your teeth.

To avoid plaque and tartar altogether, proper oral health care maintenance needs to be administered on a daily basis.  Plaque is inevitable and will form on tooth surfaces.   Removing the plaque and not allowing it to sit on your teeth prevents it from evolving into tartar as well as the enamel-attacking acids, cavities, and gum disease.

So remember, brush your teeth regularly, twice a day, floss those gums daily and take care of your mouth.

 

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372

The Importance of Dental Hygiene and Back to School

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Ah, the hustle and bustle of back to school…

As your children head into back to school mode, there are many things on the “to do” list before the first day back rolls around.  Such as:

  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Markers, pens, pencils
  • Dental cleaning

Dental cleaning?!?  Yes!  Teeth, gums and proper dental hygiene care are very crucial steps to take before going back to school.

Studies have shown that dental related issues are the primary reason that children are absent from school.  If you help to maintain and stay on top of your child’s oral health care you are setting them up for future success!  There is no age limit when it comes to having a healthy mouth and smile. *

As their first day back to school is swiftly approaching, no matter what grade they are going into, first impressions are always looming in the back of their head.  First impressions are huge!  No one needs to have a big chunk of their morning cereal or stinky breath on their first day back.  If your children’s teeth are well taken care of, brushed and flossed, with clean fresh breath, they will be well on their way to a GREAT first impression!

A friendly smile says a lot about a person.  When your kids have a clean, attractive smile they will exude confidence. When they are feeling confident, they promote a positive sense of self which may help spark a conversation or attract another person’s attention.  They will have a lunch buddy in no time!

Not to mention, those school pictures, that wind up being permanent fixtures in the yearbook (and on your fridge at home)…  Having a dashing smile, your child will hold no regrets when they look back years later and think “Man!  That is one good looking smile!”

If your child is due for a dental cleaning and polish, now is the perfect time to go in for an appointment!  This goes above and beyond the daily standard brushing and flossing.  Afterwards, their teeth will feel AMAZING!  A good dental cleaning will remove all of the tartar buildup that may have accumulated over the past few months.  Any sort of gingivitis will be examined and taken care of.  Since we don’t want any sort of gum disease!  A nice polishing of their teeth will finish up their appointment.  Your child’s teeth will literally be squeaky clean!  There is no better feeling than a smooth fresh tooth surface.

We all get those first-day jitters when going back to school.  It’s completely natural.  But when your child’s  alarm clock goes off the morning of their first day back, they eat their breakfast, gather their belongings, and apply proper oral hygiene, they will have one less thing to worry about before they get to class!  One less worry is a step in the right direction!

So just remember, before your children walk out  the door for their first day if school, make sure they have spent at least two minutes brushing those pearly whites, flossed each and every tooth, and maybe even doing a quick once over with some mouth rinse.  Your child is bound to have a great first day back to school!

*Source:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21330579

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372

7 Serious Health Concerns That Also Affect Your Teeth

Mouth and Body Go Hand-in-Hand

Did you know that poor oral health care can be the cause of many different health issues within your body itself?  There are many connections between taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums and the rest of your body.

People with gum disease have a 40% increased risk of developing a chronic health condition. Bacterial build up on your teeth and gums give you a greater probability of infection which may then spread throughout other areas of your body.

Common Health Issues That Affect Oral HealthJune FB Candy (6)

  • Diabetes: causes oral inflammation and affects the body’s ability to process sugar.
  • Heart Disease: about 91% of those with heart disease are also found to have periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth corresponds with the inflammation of blood vessels which then leads to less blood flow causing an increase in blood pressure.  There is also a chance of plaque that is attached to the blood vessel itself, breaking off and traveling to the heart and/or brain resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
  • Issues during Pregnancy: pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and susceptible to developmental issues such as learning disorders, lung and heart conditions.
  • Osteoporosis: osteoporosis, like periodontitis, causes bone loss. It’s common for those with osteoporosis to also have some degree of gum disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: those with rheumatoid arthritis battling gum disease have found gum disease treatment may also reduce overall body pain in regards to their arthritic symptoms.
  • Smoking: bad for your health, both overall and oral.  Nicotine interferes with your gums’ ability to fight infection.  This also extends the recovery period for those gum infection treatments.
  • Obesity: those with 20% or higher body fat percentage have been linked to rapid progression of gum disease.

Taking excellent care of your oral health has a positive domino effect for the rest of your body.  Same can be said with your body – taking care of your health and body can positively affect your mouth, teeth and gums.
If you care about your health and yourself, you in-turn need to care about your mouth.  Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you!

Periodontics and Implants – Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology

10425 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite 102, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Phone: (916) 965-7444 – Fax: (916) 965-9372