toothbrush and toothpaste in white cup on countertop

Oral systemic health refers to the connection between overall health and oral health. A growing body of studies and research has shown connections between gum disease and health problems like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, dementia, arthritis, and even complications during pregnancy. 

Research by the National Institutes of Health found that the presence of gum disease increases an individual’s risk of developing heart disease by 20 percent. 

If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the doctors of Metropolitan Dental Care can schedule periodontal treatments to restore the health of your gums and potentially lower your risk of serious health issues. Our dental practice serves the Greater Denver, CO area.  

What health problems are linked to gum disease?

The American Academy of Periodontology notes that periodontal disease is associated with several diseases. The inflammation caused by the presence of bacteria may be one cause of heart-related problems. Research is ongoing, but early theories point toward bacteria entering the bloodstream from infected gums and damaging arteries and blood vessels. By treating the source of inflammation (ie gum tissue), dentists have an important role to play in lowering diseases linked to periodontitis, such as:

  • Heart disease: Research has shown a clear link between heart disease and periodontitis, although the potential causal role of gum disease is not fully understood. Periodontal disease may aggravate existing heart conditions. If bacteria do reach the arteries that supply the heart, the resulting inflammation may weaken or harden artery walls. 
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum disease. The relationship may go both ways. Uncontrolled diabetes can raise glucose levels, which can promote the growth of harmful bacteria. 
  • Stroke: Patients with acute cerebrovascular ischemia (a condition that decreases blood flow to the brain) were more likely to have periodontitis compared to a control group.
  • Respiratory disease: If bacteria in the mouth reach the lungs, it can cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
  • Cancer: Individuals with gum disease were found to be considerably more likely to have kidney and pancreatic cancers.

Treatment Options for Periodontitis

Gingivitis can be treated with regular dental cleanings. During your cleaning, one of our dental hygienists will remove tartar and plaque near the base of your teeth using special tools and ultrasonic equipment. All of our periodontal procedures are performed with your comfort in mind.

If you have early stages of periodontitis, you may require a more thorough treatment called scaling and root planing. The non-surgical procedure uses an ultrasonic scaler to remove calcified buildup along the gum line. A handheld scaler may also be used.

Root planing smooths the surface of the roots to allow the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth. Topical antibiotics may also be used. Your gums may feel sore for one or two days following treatment.  

If your gums suffer from advanced periodontitis, you may require gum surgery. Our periodontist, Dr. Norouzinia, will make an incision in your gums to reach deep pockets of infection. Following a comprehensive scaling and root planing, the incisions will be sutured.

Schedule Your Dental Cleaning Today

Twice-a-year cleanings and exams can lower your risk for dental problems and serious chronic conditions and diseases. Whether it has been months or years since your last dental cleaning, it is never too late to begin restoring your oral health. To schedule your periodontal treatment, please contact our office online or call (303) 534-2626.