The teeth are connected to the jaw bone in the face through the tooth’s roots. These roots are deeply ingrained in the bone to provide structure and strength to the mouth, which is important for biting, chewing, and speaking. Without an oral hygiene routine, the teeth risk the buildup of bacteria, otherwise known as tartar and plaque. This appears as a yellowish buildup on the teeth around the gum line.
Over time, if someone does not brush, floss, and rinse at home regularly and maintain their regular dental checkups, this buildup can start to affect the smile. If left alone, the bacteria can get beneath the gums and create dental pockets. These pockets occur when the gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth. This may also cause gum recession, which may eventually expose the tooth roots. If the bacteria have access to the roots beneath the gum line, they may gain access to the body's bloodstream.
It has been a long-established fact that there is a relationship between gum disease and heart disease. However, experts have yet to determine whether or not this is a causal relationship. In any case, existing research suggests that clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke are associated with the inflammation and infections usually accompanied by dental bacteria.
Dental health and diabetes have a bidirectional relationship, meaning they both affect each other directly. Diabetes reduces the body’s ability to resist infection, making patients more at risk of developing gum disease. At the same time, those with gum disease tend to have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become less dense and more brittle. It can affect any bone in the body, and research suggests an existing relationship between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Once the jawbone loses enough density, it is not uncommon for tooth loss to occur.
Pregnant women are at significantly higher risk for periodontal disease and cavities. These phenomena can occur due to changes in behavior, hormone levels, and diet. Furthermore, certain dental health issues may lead to pregnancy complications, such as premature birth.
Aside from heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, and osteoporosis, there are many other conditions linked to dental health. These include but are not limited to pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjorgen’s syndrome. Patients need to be as open and honest as possible with their complete health dentistry doctor, as certain conditions or even recent bouts of illness may affect the type of dental care they need.
It depends on what those other conditions are. However, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis have both been proven to have bidirectional relationships with oral health. In other words, treating one will effectively treat the other.
Yes. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of oral infections, both bacterial and fungal. Additionally, it may contribute to loss of motion in the temporomandibular joint.
Periodontal disease is often caused by ongoing gum inflammation. When this happens, pockets eventually develop between the gums and teeth. These pockets fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria, becoming deeper over time. Chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body can also strain the immune system.
As we can see, some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. Throughout this page, we have already mentioned diabetes, pregnancy, and osteoporosis. Lifestyle choices and oral hygiene habits may also contribute. For example, tobacco use, certain medications, poor nutrition, and clenching/grinding the teeth can heighten one’s risk. Other risk factors are out of one’s control, such as age, genetics, stress, or other systemic diseases.
Gum disease usually starts off with a buildup of excess plaque which, if left undisturbed, eventually turns to tartar under the gumline. It will then develop into a mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis before later progressing into periodontitis, a more severe form of the disease.