How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Overall Health

For some time, research has shown that gum disease is associated with several other diseases. First it was thought that bacteria were the factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions. This is particularly true for diabetes (see also our blog post on Diabetes and Gum Disease –, heart disease and conditions such as osteoporosis, respiratory diseases and cancer. In fact, researchers found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers. [1]

For decades, physicians and dentists have been involved only in their own respective fields, specializing in medicine pertaining to the body or to oral issues. However, recent findings such as the above indicate that oral health may affect systemic health. Systemic disease is a term used to describe conditions that affect many organs and tissues. In other words, systemic diseases affect the whole body and lower the body’s ability to fight off infection and inflammation.

Currently, this gap between allopathic medicine and dental medicine is quickly closing, due to significant findings supporting the relationship between periodontal disease and systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and osteoporosis.  [2]

The many studies of the relationship between gum disease and systemic conditions are not a “latest fad.”  About one in two adults in the United States has periodontal disease. And not surprisingly, the number of people affected by diabetes, cancer and heart disease is growing equally fast.[3] But thanks to the increasing interest of the medical and dental community to find solutions, the quality of gum treatments procedures has increased rapidly as well.

Traditionally, dentists treat gum disease by cutting into the gums to remove infected gum tissue. The wound is then stitched up. This procedure is not only invasive, it also requires significant local and even general anesthesia to protect the patient from pain and discomfort.

That’s why Dr. Gashinsky uses the LANAP® laser treatment. LANAP requires only a small dose of local anesthetic, causes very little to no bleeding and requires no scalpels or stitches. Because LANAP avoids making incisions, it is a much less painful procedure all around. LANAP uses laser technology to eradicate gum disease in a way that doesn’t damage the surrounding gum tissue. There is also a lower chance of surgical complications that could cause discomfort later.

The LANAP laser treatment is very effective and has been proven to remove bacteria-filled tissue within your gums and reducing the risk for other infections. The effective treatment reduces the short- and long-term risks of tooth loss by reversing tissue damage. With proper dental hygiene after LANAP laser treatment, your gums should remain strong for many years to come.

If you or anyone in your family suffers from gum disease, call us or come to our practice and let Dr. Gashinsky advise you of the best and least invasive treatments to not only get rid of the gum disease but also prevent it in the future.

[1] Gum Disease and Other Systemic Diseases – American Academy of Periodontology
[2] Periodontal disease as a specific, albeit chronic, infection: diagnosis and treatment. – Clin Microbiol Rev. 2001;14:727–52. US National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health
[3] Effects of periodontal disease on systemic health.-  Hegde R1, Awan KH2.