Dental disease is infectious. It can be transmitted through the sharing of utensils, toothbrushes and anything else that permits the exchange of saliva.
There is no “vaccine” for preventing dental disease.
Dental disease prevention requires active involvement of both the patient and a dentist. It includes regular examinations (with X-rays), diagnosis and treatment planning by a dentist, fluoride applications as needed, dental sealants and restorative treatment. Patient education, healthy dietary habits and daily oral hygiene practices are also important.
Severe periodontal (gum) disease often leads to tooth loss, but recent scientific research suggests a link to a variety of common, non-oral health conditions, including heart disease.
Our teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Brushing after meals and snacks and flossing between teeth daily helps remove plaque.
Plaque that is not removed may harden into calculus. When calculus accumulates either above or below the gumline, the gum tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. The early stage of periodontal (gum) disease is called gingivitis. Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. When this happens, gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with plaque and even more infection. The more advanced the disease, the deeper the pockets.
While severe periodontal disease often leads to tooth loss, recent scientific research also suggests a strong link to a variety of common, non-oral health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet shows:
The American Academy of Periodontology surveyed more than 200 scientific English-language articles from the past 50 years that examined the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. This research review found:
Gum disease, while more prevalent in adults, can start at any age. Children and teenagers who have Type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of developing gum disease than their peers. In a survey of 263 young people ages 11 to 18-years-old with Type I diabetes, 10 percent had obvious periodontitis.
Dentists believe such research findings support the idea that periodontal bacteria can easily enter the blood stream through open pores in inflamed gums and be transmitted to other parts of the body where it causes great harm.
Diabetes also can make an individual more susceptible to the following conditions:
Prevention is, and always will be, central to good oral health and is one of the best investments an individual can make.
Preventing dental disease is more than a one-time event. True prevention requires a comprehensive approach and includes:
Dentistry has made great strides in prevention over the past decades, but development of dental infections and disease hinges on controllable (personal eating and hygiene habits, etc.) and uncontrollable (genetics and transmission of infectious bacteria) factors.
Dentistry is science based. The profession continues to advance independent clinical studies and research pertaining to prevention and oral health’s impact on overall good health.
Educate your patients about how periodontal disease can affect their diabetes and vice versa. Brochure material:
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