Dr. Anson is concerned about your overall health. He believes it is important that you are well informed regarding the various medical conditions that have been linked to periodontal disease including, diabetes, heart disease, and low birth weight in babies.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
The leading cause of heart attacks and strokes is cardiovascular disease, which includes infective endocarditis. This involves inflammation of the interior lining of the heart and heart valves and is usually caused by bacterial infection. Abnormal or damaged valves are at greater risk, but infective endocarditis can occur even in normal valves if there is a significant amount of bacteria present.
An individual with periodontal disease can injure the gum tissue while chewing, brushing and flossing. When this happens, it is possible for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The accumulation of bacteria on heart valves can potentially lead to a fatal endocarditis infection.
Coronary artery disease is characterized by gradual thickening of the coronary artery walls as a result of fatty proteins. When blood clots form in the obstructed arteries, blood flow is restricted, reducing the amount of oxygen to the heart. Bacteria can also attach to fatty plaques and possibly contribute to clot formation. For Beverly Hills patients with coronary artery disease, this can be life threatening.
Individuals with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. Additionally, recent clinical studies have demonstrated that Beverly Hills patients who experience a heart attack or stroke are much more likely to have periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
The definitive link between diabetes and periodontal disease has been well documented in the scientific literature. Studies indicate that periodontal disease is more prevalent in diabetics than in non-diabetics. It has also been demonstrated that diabetics lose more teeth. This prevalence is likely the result of an increased susceptibility to infections. Research has shown that periodontal disease can negatively impact diabetic control, resulting in challenges to regulating insulin levels.
Therefore, Beverly Hills patients with diabetes should receive treatment for any periodontal problems. Appropriate periodontal therapy to eliminate infection can result in a decrease in the insulin that is needed. In addition, Furthermore, studies conducted over a long period of time demonstrate that control of periodontal disease is a critical factor in the progression and stability of diabetes.
Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy
As a result of hormonal changes, women who are pregnant are more prone to periodontal disease. Additionally, research has found that periodontal disease may result in a higher risk of pre-term, low birth weight (PLBW) infants. Complications associated with PLBW may include extended hospital stays, follow-up treatment and potential long-term problems for the child.
Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, researchers believe this triggers an increase in PGE (prostaglandin) and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) molecular levels, which can induce premature labor.
There are other known risk factors such as, tobacco use, drug and alcohol use, level of prenatal care, genetics, nutrition and urinary tract infections. However, 25% of PLBW births occur without a known risk factor. The connection between PLBW and periodontal disease is the subject of several ongoing studies to obtain additional information.
Periodontal disease is not something that should be ignored, so please call our office in Beverly Hills at (310) 657-0999 today and our friendly staff will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.