ARE YOU AT GREATER RISK?
The main cause of Periodontal Disease is bacterial plaque on teeth nearest the gums. Good oral hygiene at home and a good thorough cleaning by a dental hygienist once or twice a year is the simplest and most proven treatment and is the cornerstone to the treatment of this disease. For the average healthy person this should be all that is required to keep their gums healthy and stable.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Smoking has always been the number one villain in the fight against periodontal disease. Smokers have an abundance of toxic tars and chemicals mixed together in their plaque and this causes more severe damage to the bone and interferes with healing. A smoker's best chance at a healthy mouth is to successfully quit smoking. Failing the ability to do so will create a real challenge going forward.
Diabetes is a disease that requires special consideration. Diabetics are more prone to infection and they do not fight these infections well. Diabetics with active periodontal disease have more difficulty stabilizing their blood sugars.
Many prescription drugs, while medically necessary, do interfere with the immune system and can make periodontal disease harder to control. They include the following:
- Steroids - which are anti-inflammatory by their very nature
- Anti-inflammatories - designed to suppress the immune system
- Cyclosporine Immunosuppressant Therapy
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- Chemotherapy Drugs
Diseases that interfere with the Immune System:
- Viruses - HIV, Epstein-Barr( causes mononucleosis), Cytomeglo Virus ( a chronic fatigue virus).
- Leukemia and various other Cancers
- Rheumatoid Arthritis - linked but not necessarily a cause
Stress by its very nature immunosuppressive. Stress causes the release of cortisol and other steroid compounds that are all immunosuppressive by design. The causes of stress are too numerous to list but can include job deadlines, divorce, illness, grief, loss of job, school exams, financial problems, relationship problems, and the list could go on forever. The only real way to combat stress is to identify it and try to do what you can to minimize the damage it causes. Possibly by exercising, meditating, changing jobs, seeking therapy, taking a vacation, yoga, and a whole host of other things that can help reduce stress in an individual.
There can be a small genetic factor to this disease but don't use that as an excuse to give up. This just means that you must try a little harder.
Because more harmful bacteria such as Spirochetes and other gram negative bacteria show up later in more advanced cases of periodontal disease. It is a real concern that these bacteria can spread from people with advanced periodontal disease to other healthier family members.
People who grind their teeth need to be concerned that these extreme occlusal forces can contribute to the damage of the supporting bone.