Welcome back to all of my returning readers as well as to those who are new readers. For those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time, you already know that Dr. Scharf enjoys educating and updating his readers and patients about all things dental. If you’re new to this blog, then allow me to introduce you to Dr. Scharf, who is a licensed Periodontist in Long Island who desires to educate his readers about dental issues especially as they apply to their overall general health. With that intention in mind, we recently began an article series on the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease. In the earlier segments of this series, we discussed what diabetes isn’t and shared that diabetes is basically not a condition or potential condition which should be “blown off” or ignored, but instead should be taken seriously. In our past segments, we had a discussion of what diabetes is in an attempt to help you understand why it should be taken seriously. Also, in the last segment, we talked about two of the four types of diabetes which are, perhaps, less publicised, specifically gestational diabetes and prediabetes. As promised in our last segment, today we will discuss periodontal disease and how it can influence your overall health situation. So, let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Periodontal Disease?
You may or may not hear this term frequently, but it is an important one for all of us, regardless of age or health status. Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is quite simply a term used to describe a chronic state of inflammation of your gums which is characterized by destroying the structures which support your teeth. Severe cases of periodontitis is said to affect 10% to 15% of the adult population and the numbers grow each year, with some statistics showing that over 3 million cases are treated each year.
Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis causes the gums to be red, swollen and to bleed easily. The cause of gingivitis is frequently caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis also has some other potential causative factors, which include: smoking, diabetes, aging, genetic predisposition, a variety of systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection and the use of certain medications.
This mildest stage of periodontitis is totally treatable and can be reversed with timely and appropriate treatment. The gingivitis can be prevented for re-occurring by learning and adhering to strict oral hygiene methods at home and regular and routine dental cleanings and examinations. Without proper identification and treatment, gingivitis can advance to the next and more serious stage — periodontitis.
The condition of periodontitis happens when the untreated gingivitis causes plaque development, which travels below the gum line, irritating the gums with the bacteria contained in the plaque. Toxins in this bacteria begins the chain reaction of inflammation which eventually leads to destruction of supporting tissue and tooth loss over time.
Next time, we’re going to talk about the types of periodontitis and how they influence your health. Until then, please get established with a dental professional if you don’t already have one. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in the role, he call help to identify and treat gum disease in any stage of development in your family. Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.