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Health Risks Related to Gum Disease

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:02 AM



Gum Disease Dentist


Often times when we think of a healthy mouth, the first thing that springs to mind is a sparkling, white smile. What we might not consider, however, is the role our gums play in our oral health. Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is linked to a host of other health concerns. In fact, increasingly more research shows that the inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease is likely related to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. In short, poor oral health can jeopardize your overall health. Below we will discuss some of the health risks relating to gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Although a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting the two are linked. People who have gum disease are more likely to have heart problems, including heart attacks. The common denominator, experts believe, is inflammation. In 2009, the American Academy of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology released a paper suggesting that cardiologists ask their patients about prior gum disease and that periodontists gather patients' family heart history.

Periodontal Disease and Dementia

It may seem like an odd association, but researchers have also found a link between gum disease and dementia. Individuals who suffer from gum disease may have an increased risk of dementia later in life. 

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Inflammation is probably at least partly to blame for the connection. Additionally, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to infections in general, including periodontal disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

At first glance, it might seem strange to link an oral disease to a type of arthritis. However, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by painful joints-- and inflammation. In fact, chronic inflammation is a common denominator in both rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. People with RA may be more likely to also suffer from gum disease than the general population.


Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.  He may be contacted at 717-334-0555. GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Periodontal Disease, Gum Disease, Diabetes and dentistry

Dentistry for Diabetics, What you should know

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

Gettysburg dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS


Most people with diabetes are aware of the way the disease affects their nerves, eyes, kidney, and heart. Unfortunately, they often don't realize the link between gum disease and diabetes until they have lost teeth, suffer from painful chewing, or experienced other unpleasant consequences. If you are diabetic, it is imperative that you keep your blood sugar under control to avoid the complications of periodontal disease.

How Diabetes Threatens the Mouth

Diabetes thickens blood vessels, including those inside of your mouth. When your blood vessels are compromised, it slows the delivery of nutrients as well as the removal of waste products from the tissues of your mouth. Gum and bone tissue are more susceptible to infection when in this condition. When infection occurs, it increases the likelihood of developing gum disease. High levels of sugar, also known as glucose, in the mouth encourage the growth of bacteria. This creates an environment where germs thrive and gum disease often follows.

People who smoke are five times likelier to develop gum disease than non-smokers are. When you add diabetes into the equation, the risk jumps to twenty-fold, especially for people over age 45. 

Working Together to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

When you schedule your first appointment at Samuels Dental Arts P.C., be sure to let us know that you have diabetes. It is also helpful for us to know the medication you take and whether you currently have good control of your blood sugar levels. This affects how our dentists create and carry out your treatment plan. We recommend that you come in for routine cleaning at least twice per year and let us know about any unusual new developments with your teeth or gums. 

In the event that you need oral surgery, such as the placement of a dental implant to replace teeth or hold a denture,  healing may take longer due to your diabetes. However, your risk of complications aren't any higher than those of the average patient. We work with your medical provider to limit risks and provide you with high quality dental care.

Topics: Diabetes and dentistry, dentistry for diabetics

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