Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Has Similarities To Gum Disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.  As devastating as that is, it can be even worse.

In the mouth, early stage periodontal (gum) disease causes gums to bleed when brushing, bad breath and gum tenderness. As the disease progresses, gums turn red and pus pockets form at the base of some teeth. As the infectious bacteria attack the bone structures that support tooth roots, teeth will begin to loosen and may need removing.

From decades of research, a link has been found between the bacteria of gum disease and many serious health problems. The infectious bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through diseased gum tissues, causing inflammatory triggers. This inflammation has been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, preterm babies, diabetes and impotency.

For people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), many are learning that research is noting close connections with arthritis and gum disease, too. Apparently,  gum disease and RA share a genetic similarity. The clinical makeup shows similar structures, primarily in pathogens that spark disease or illness. Research has found that the pathological process that occurs in both gum disease and RA are nearly identical.

Both conditions cause chronic inflammation in tissues that connect to bone with both diseases having a similar inflammatory trigger. Even more similar is the particular species of bacteria found in periodontally-diseased tissues when compared with tissues around  arthritic joints. In one study, a particular pathogen associated with periodontal disease was found to activate the same destructive process of rheumatoid arthritis.

RA is a debilitating, painful disease that destroys joints. RA often emerges gradually, initially causing morning stiffness and weak, sore muscles. As inflammation from RA worsens, joints become swollen.  Joints become achy and stiff most often in the fingers, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, toes and neck. Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA.

On a positive note, studies have shown that treating periodontal disease in RA patients helps to improve RA symptoms. This is felt to occur because of a lighter burden of oral inflammation to the system.

These findings reinforce how oral health correlates closely to our overall health. When you consider how the presence of gum disease can significantly increase your risk for serious health conditions, having good oral health should be a priority for every American. Sadly, statistics show that almost 75% of the U.S. adult population have some level of gum disease.

Recommit yourself to thorough oral hygiene at home and keeping those 6-month check-ups and cleanings. If you have signs of gum disease, have treatment at your earliest convenience. Gum disease will only worsen and requires more treatment time and expense as it progresses.

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule a free consultation.

Research Reveals Oral Health Links To Deadly Diseases

4.1.1We occasionally see patients who have been advised by their surgeons to have their gum health checked prior to surgery. This proactive measure is to reduce risk factors that could complicate surgical outcome. But, what does your smile have to do with a hip joint replacement? Or, any surgery for that matter?

Although the connection between healthy gums and surgery elsewhere in the body seem unrelated, research has shown otherwise. For decades, numerous studies have shown correlations between the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and health problems elsewhere in the body, some deadly.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection that destroys gum tissues and the structures that support teeth. As gum tissues are attacked and weakened, the bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased tissues.

This infectious bacteria has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Systemic inflammation is the now-known epicenter of a number of major health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, impotency and more.

Studies have also shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease have a greater risk of having pre-term and low birth weight babies. These indications have been found in amniotic fluid and in fetal cord blood samples of infants.

The latest research reveals that the bacteria of periodontal disease may contribute to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. For years, researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have conducted a cancer prevention and screening study.

By studying oral samples, notably higher levels of two types of oral bacteria were measured in study participants with pancreatic cancer. One oral bacteria was found to create a 50% increased risk for pancreatic cancer and the second oral bacteria led to a 59% greater likelihood.

For decades, it was perceived that RA (rheumatoid arthritis) patients had such a high risk of gum disease due to poor oral hygiene because of dexterity problems with using a toothbrush. However, more recent studies now show that gum disease is actually a risk factor for arthritis.

While genetic factors certainly contribute to greater RA susceptibility, the true source has been determined to be inflammatory reactions. This inflammation is triggered primarily by bacterial infections, with oral bacteria being a significant contributor to inflammatory arthritis.

Based on years of studies and findings, the correlation between gum disease bacteria and our whole-health is finally coming to light. As research continues to pinpoint the origins of how the infectious bacteria of gum disease set in motion pancreatic cancer’s onset, new screening methods can hopefully be developed.

In the meantime, there is no debate that having and keeping good oral health is important. Fortunately, this is easy and takes just minutes a day. Follow a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home by brushing twice a day (two minutes each time) and floss daily. Have dental cleanings every six months and follow your dental hygienist’s recommendations to keep oral bacteria at minimal levels between visits.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, please be seen promptly. These include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, frequent bad breath, swollen and tender gums and gums that deepen in color from a healthy pink. Remember, gum disease will only worsen without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Begin with a free consultation by calling toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Dental Implant Success

Dental implants are one of the most successful of all implant-in-bone procedures, over 94%. One of the keys to the success of your implants is in choosing an experienced Doctor.

A successful outcome begins with the Doctor in proper diagnosis, selecting the right type of implant, and precision placement. However, once an implant patient leaves our office, he or she can greatly affect the life of their dental implants.

Although rare occurrences, there are several reasons that dental implants must be removed. This occurs most often because of an infection that occurs when oral bacteria evolves into periodontal (gum) disease. The bacteria of this disease causes inflammation that can reach the area surrounding the implant’s post.

When gum disease reaches this level, it infects the bone and supporting structures of the implant. While prompt treatment can resolve some infections, there is a certain level that requires the implant to be removed so the area can fully heal.

The most common causes for implant failure are poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes. Another less-known but significant factor is teeth grinding during sleep.

Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth) actually contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is a known problem for natural teeth that are well-established in the jaw bone. The force can be so much that tooth surfaces wear down. For those who clench, the force can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints and sore facial and neck muscles.

Even natural teeth can be worn down from bruxing. Imagine what this does to a newly-placed implant.
Even natural teeth can be worn down from bruxing. Imagine what this does to a newly-placed implant.

So, the pressure and trauma that bruxing can place on a newly-placed implant isn’t surprising once it is noted. Resolving the problem before treatment is, of course, the best solution. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation and is sometimes corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. In addition to protecting the life of your implant, having treatment for problems that contribute to bruxing can help you avoid a long list of residual problems as described above.

Ultimately, taking proper measures to increase implant treatment success helps to protect your investment. They also enable you to enjoy your implants without complications or delays.

We want every patient, including our implant patients, to have only positive experiences and successful outcomes. While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that being communicative with patients on how to increase the potential for success is as important as the exceptional, overall experience our office is known for.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations.

How To Spend Less On Dentistry

Like most individuals, our desire is to be proactive with our family’s health. To accomplish this, we stay active, eat healthy and have regular check-ups along with periodic screenings. It simply makes sense to be committed to preventing problems or catch any that do arise at early stages.

Research has shown that your oral health deserves the same commitment you give to maintaining a healthy body. Studies have found links between the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and serious problems elsewhere in the body. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies,  impotency and more.

Another reason to maintain a healthy smile is to save money. Yes, by devoting mere minutes a day to your oral hygiene and having dental exams and cleanings every six months, you can prevent many problems from occurring in the first place, saving both time and expense for repairs.MagGlass

Your twice-a-year dental check-ups are opportunities to remove calculus. Calculus (or ‘tartar’), a hardened form of oral bacteria, is the result of plaque that is not removed thoroughly from the mouth each day. Once plaque forms into calculus, it attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away.

Oral bacteria thrive and reproduce in your mouth by eating away at gum tissues. Because they reproduce rapidly, they can easily go from gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) to periodontal disease, an infection. While gingivitis causes tender gums to bleed when brushing, periodontal disease symptoms are more severe, including persistent bad breath, sore gums that bleed easily, gums that darken in color, receded gums, and pus pockets that form between teeth.

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.  However, the potent bacteria can become bloodborne through tears in disease gum tissues, causing problems elsewhere in the body. The bacteria of periodontal disease has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions that are the origins of the major health problems mentioned prior. And, as research continues, more and more problems are being connected to oral bacteria from gum disease.

Obviously, oral bacteria is highly potent. However, it’s easy to control with twice daily brushing and daily flossing combined with regular dental checkups. For added protection, limit sugary snacks and either swish after eating or chew sugarless gum when brushing is inconvenient. Not only will you help to reduce your risk for cavities and gum problems, you’ll be able to enjoy fresher breath and smiling confidence.

Think about the savings you’ll experience when you don’t need cavities repaired and can avoid gum therapy required to remove deeply-embedded oral bacteria. Begin with a thorough examination and cleaning. This will help to give your mouth a clean slate that will be easy to maintain at home between visits.

To schedule, call 1-866-9-Smiles. We look forward to helping you save money!