Can gum and periodontal disease cost me more in healthcare expenses?
By Willie Johnson RDH B.S.
Have you ever noticed bleeding in your mouth after brushing and flossing?
Has your dentist or hygienist questioned you about your home-care regimen? Questions like: How often are you flossing? Are you using your Waterpik? Or, maybe you know someone who has really red, swollen-looking gums, and is not seeking dental care on a regular basis.
If any of these sound familiar, there’s certainly a chance you or they may have a mild to moderate case of gum disease.
There are roughly two phases of gum disease. We call the reversible type of gum disease Gingivitis. Gingivitis is normally addressed and treated with increased home-care (flossing, Sonicare, Waterpik), and minimal professional help beyond regular cleanings. The more severe cases are referred to as Periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is when the tissues in your mouth, including the underlying supportive bone of the jaw, permanently break down and deteriorate. This is irreversible because we cannot naturally regrow the bone and tissues in our mouths. Periodontal disease occurs in the teeth and gums, but the effects of periodontal disease do not stop at the mouth! Unfortunately, oral health issues also affect other systems in the body. Conversely, a systemic problem elsewhere in the body, can present symptoms in the tissues of the mouth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recently reported that there is a “statistically significant association to periodontal disease and lower healthcare costs.” “Study examines effect of periodontal treatment on health care costs” Jennifer Garvin Jan 27 2016. Check out this link for an in-depth conversation on the subject.
What this basically means is that systemic diseases can easily affect how healthy the mouth is, and oral health can sometimes indicate when there is a health issue in other parts of the body. This particular report focuses on healthcare savings specifically related to Diabetes and gum diseases. Gum tissues can be greatly disturbed in the event Diabetes or possibly any other systemic concern in present. Indicators in your overall health can usually be evaluated by what the mouth is reporting and showing.
Your mouth is the front line to your immune system, stopping bad bacteria from getting into your body. Those really bad bacteria in the mouth do not always stay put, they love to travel around the body, and wreak havoc in other places. Your body doesn’t want to let one simple, little decaying tooth take out the entire mother ship, though. So, our bodies go into attack mode to remove the diseased part of our mouths. Periodontal Disease!
It is easy to focus other daunting medical concerns, but guess what – it’s even easier to get regular dental exams, to prevent oral disease, and to possibly catch other systemic problems at an early stage. So, if it’s been a while since your last cleaning, give us a call, or request an appointment, so we can evaluate your mouth and help you get your oral and systemic health back on track! Let us help you save money, and keep you healthy at the same time.