The PearlFection Blog
Does Gum Disease Increase Risk of Heart Disease?
Recently, dentists, researchers, and doctors have begun to examine the link between oral health and overall health. One area they’ve focused on is the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is inflammation of the gums. It can lead to the breakdown of the gums, teeth, and bone tissues that hold them in place. Heart disease refers to a broad set of conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is caused by the narrowing or blockage of important blood vessels.
Keep reading to learn more about how these two conditions are related and what you can do to reduce your risk.
Gum diseases and other diseases
Gum disease and oral health may be related to other conditions, as well, such as:
- Osteoporosis: Some research suggests that lower bone density leads to bone loss in the jaw. This may eventually lead to tooth loss due to a weaker underlying bone.
- Respiratory disease: Bacteria in the mouth can move to the lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia. This is more common for people with periodontal disease.
- Cancer: Some research suggests that gum disease may increase the risk of certain forms of cancer, such as kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers. More research is needed in this area.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Early research shows an association between RA and gum disease. However, more research is needed.
There are also some conditions that may increase your risk of developing gum disease. Research indicates that people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing gum disease. This is likely due to increased inflammation and greater risk of infections in general. The risk lowers if you manage your diabetes.
Pregnant women are also at increased risk of gum disease due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Gum disease symptoms
Regular visits to your dentist can help with early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. You should also let your dentist know if you have any symptoms of gum disease, including:
- persistent bad breath
- swollen, red gums
- tender gums that bleed easily
- pain with chewing
- highly sensitive teeth
- receding gums or sunken teeth
- loose teeth or changes in bite
Just because you have one or several of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have gum disease. A dentist will make a formal diagnosis by reviewing the severity and duration of your symptoms. They will also evaluate your teeth and review your medical history. During your visit, they may:
- measure your gums with a tiny ruler to check pocket depth
- evaluate your gums for signs of inflammation and plaque buildup
- take X-rays of underlying jaw bone to look for bone loss
- examine sensitive teeth for receding gums
Heart disease symptoms
If your doctor suspects heart disease, they will make a diagnosis based on your medical history, the severity and duration of your symptoms, and the results of a physical examination. The following are common symptoms of heart disease:
- chest pain, also known as angina, resulting from your heart not getting enough oxygen
- arrhythmia, also known as irregular heart beat
- shortness of breath
- unexpected fatigue
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- sudden confusion or impaired thinking
- excess buildup of fluid, known as edema
- heart attack
The doctor will also evaluate your blood and examine risk factors for heart disease, such as family history and body weight. They can confirm a diagnosis with the following tests:
- EKG to record the heart’s electrical activity
- chest X-ray to visualize the heart and other organs in the chest
- blood tests to evaluate levels of proteins, lipids, and glucose
- stress test to document abnormal changes in your heart beat and breathing during exercise
What’s the outlook?
Research shows some connection between gum disease and heart disease. Bacteria buildup and inflammation in the oral cavity eventually leads to narrowing and blockage of blood vessels. However, more research is needed to better understand the connection.
There are many healthy lifestyle habits you can use to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce your risk of gum and heart diseases.
- Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist to demonstrate the correct technique for brushing.
- Floss between your teeth and gums at least once per day.
- Use mouthwash regularly.
- Only use teeth cleaning products that have the American Dentist Association’s seal of approval.
- Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Drink water that contains fluoride.
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, high-fiber foods, low-sugar fruits, and vegetable-based proteins.
- Maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes.
- See a dentist twice per year for regular cleanings and checkups.
- Be mindful of early signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums and constant bad breath. Let your dentist know if you have any of these symptoms.
Q&A: Gum disease
Can I reverse the damage caused by gum disease?
Yes, gum disease can still be reversed if you are in the gingivitis stage of the disease, but not from the advanced form of the disease. To improve your gum health, brush your teeth twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss regularly using string floss, a water flosser, or special dental brushes and picks. Use mouth rinses, and have regular dental checkups and professional cleanings.
If gum disease is in the more advanced form, called periodontitis, you can take measures to control it. Scaling and root planning (deep cleaning), reduction of gum pockets (surgical treatment), and medication may be necessary.
- Christine Frank, DDS
Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Gum infection linked to Alzheimer's disease, new study suggests
Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by a gum infection, according to a new study.
The study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, suggests the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis that destroys gum tissue in the mouth is linked to dementia and Alzheimer's.
Researchers observed the bacteria in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. They also conducted tests on mice that showed the gum infection led to an increased production of amyloid beta, a part of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.
"Despite significant funding and the best efforts of academic, industry, and advocacy communities, clinical progress against Alzheimer's has been frustratingly slow," Casey Lynch, author on the paper and CEO of pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, said in a statement. "The Science Advances publication sheds light on an unexpected driver of Alzheimer's pathology."
Cortexyme, which funded the research, is designing a series of therapies to treat the gum infection that plan to go to Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.
In this file photo, the brain of an older individual shows the early stages Alzheimer's disease. A new study suggestions a gum infection might be linked to the disease. (Photo: NONE, XXX DEPARTMENT OF ANATOMY AND NE)
While there have been previous studies linking periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s, researchers who aren't affiliated with the paper say there isn't clear enough evidence linking the two.
"In research we’ve supported to uncover the key risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, gum disease hasn’t emerged as a major cause for concern," James Pickett, the head of research at Alzheimer’s Society who was not involved in the paper, said in a statement.
No cure currently exists for Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia. The disease that begins with memory loss affects as many as 5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Frederick Area Dental Practice is the #1 Reviewed Dentist in the State of Maryland
On January 17th 2019 PearlFection Dentistry crossed a milestone. They became the first dentist in the State of Maryland and perhaps in the United States to cross the 500th review on Google, while maintaining a 5-star rating. It took them 8 year to accomplish this goal.
How did they accomplish this feat, when industry statistics say an average person is 10 times more likely to write a negative review on-line than a positive review and when so many people have a fear of dentists?
We went searching for answers as to what makes PearlFection Dentistry different and here’s what we learned about the practice:PearlFection Dentistry have never paid a patient to write a review
- For 8 years PearlFection Dentistry has maintained a 4.9-star review on Google
- PearlFection’s has 9 dentists working at the practices including four general dentists, an endodontist, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, a periodontist and a prosthodontist and every one of these doctors has received 5-star reviews. Having all these specialists means PearlFection Dentistry almost never needs to send a patient to an outside specialist, because all dental work can be done at the same place.
- PearlFection Dentistry is open 6 days per week and one of their practices, in either Urbana Maryland or Frederick Maryland is open approximately 12 hours per day and they do dental care on Saturdays and weekends
- PearlFection’s dental team is obsessed with customer service, from the first phone call to making sure that they don’t overbook, patient’s time and care is of the utmost concern.
- PearlFection takes all PPO Insurances, including Delta Dental, Cigna and United Concordia
- In December of 2017 PearlFection Dentistry in Frederick opened a state-of-the-art dental facility on Thomas Johnson Drive with 14 operatories and 2 surgical suites. The practice grew over the years and needed more room. They moved from 196 Thomas Johnson Drive, where they had been for approximately 20 years, to just down the road to 60 Thomas Johnson Drive. The practice bought the new building so they could control their own destiny and designed it, the parking area and landscaping and views with patient comfort in mind.
- PearlFection Dentistry can perform all levels of sedation dentistry for Frederick Maryland and Urbana Maryland regional patients including IV sedation, oral sedation and nitrous oxide sedation.
- PearlFection Dentistry treats pediatric patients, adults, and seniors. Many of the nursing homes in Frederick send their residence to PearlFection Dentistry for care.
- PearlFection Dentistry tries to reserve same day dentistry open slots for emergency patients. It’s not always possible but emergencies are given preferential treatment.
- PearlFection Dentistry is owned by their local doctors and has rejected offers by corporate, Wall Street types for any type of buyout because the owner doctors believe that corporate dentistry might sacrifice quality of dental care
- PearlFection Dentistry does not let insurance companies dictate treatment of patients and has successfully remained independent from State and private insurance carriers
With these facts under our belt, we caught up with Stewart Stringer, PearlFection Dentistry’s general manager and asked him, “Why, in this age of insurance driven healthcare, is PearlFection Dentistry able to provide such high-quality dental care, at fees below the regional average, and with such high customer satisfaction that you have over 500 reviews on Google?”
Stew’s answer was, “It’s pretty simple, we have a great team, totally dedicated to an exception customer experience.”
We continued, “but certainly lot of dental practices have great teams, what makes you different.”
Stew answered, “Over the past 8 years, we have worked to bring together the best general dentists, the best hygienists, the best oral surgeons, the best orthodontists, the best periodontists, the best prosthodontists and the best endodontists, we eventually hit a tipping point, where it all jelled and almost all our dentistry was performed under one roof, by a team that was in constant communication, what happened next was simple exception dental care. The doctors knew each other’s style and the result was some of the best dentistry in Maryland and for that matter in the region. We don’t cut corners when it comes to care. We use the best equipment, the best labs and the best doctors and the result is great dental care. The beneficiaries are our patients. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great dentists and specialists in this area, and we sometimes refer to them, but we have a unique practice.”
Some dental practices are content with a solid doctor team, but PearlFection Dentistry goes beyond that. Each front desk member, each assistant and each hygienist spend hours and hours in training to not only provide great professional work but also exception customer service. At PearlFection Dentistry, it’s a total experience, from the first phone call to establish a new patient, to the clinical results, we want to provide an exception experience.
Sign me up! 500 patients who took time out of their busy schedule to write a review and tell the world about this hidden gem, right in our little town of Frederick and Urbana Maryland, can’t be wrong.
If you want to schedule an appointment at PearlFection Dentistry for either general dentistry, emergency dentistry, orthodontic or braces, wisdom teeth extractions, crowns, bridges, tooth whitening, even root canals or Botox, give them a call, Frederick’s phone number is (301) 663-5550 Urbana’s Phone number is (301) 831-8303.
When you're in dental pain, all you want is relief. At Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD, we offer fast and accurate emergency dentistry in a compassionate, state-of-the-art environment. If you have an urgent dental problem, contact our office right away for first aid advice and a same-day appointment. Read below for information about various dental emergencies and how you can respond.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Severe pain, compromise of oral function, or the appearance of hard to control bleeding all constitute a dental emergency. Most can be handled by your emergency dental care team at Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD.
Here are some examples of dental emergencies and how you can care for them on your way to seeing your dentist at Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick:
- Avulsed Tooth: Accidental injury may knock a tooth out of its socket. However, if replanted by your dentist within the hour, that tooth can sometimes be saved. Rinse the tooth with clear water, put its roots down into the socket, and hold it in place on your way to see the dentist. If you cannot replace it, put the tooth in a sealed container, and cover it with milk, water, or saliva.
- Chipped Tooth: If possible, save the pieces; your dentist may be able to bond them in place with tooth-colored composite resin. More extensive damage could require a porcelain crown.
- Broken Orthodontic Wire or Loose Bracket: Use orthodontic wax to cover the rough edges, and bring the appliance to Pearlfection Dentistry for repair.
- A throbbing Toothache: Take over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen (not aspirin). Apply ice to the jaw to reduce swelling as needed.
- Broken Denture or Lost Filling or Crown: Bring the denture or restoration to the dental office for repair.
- Foreign Material Lodged Between Teeth: Try to dislodge it with dental floss. If this doesn't work, see your dentist as soon as possible.
A Word of Advice
Children, in particular, suffer a lot of dental emergencies in falls and sports mishaps. If possible, keep a small dental emergency kit on hand containing gauze, bottled water, dental floss, resealable plastic bags, and vinyl gloves. To be extra prepared, put Pearlfection Dentistry's phone number in your contacts for quick reference.
Contact Us Today!
At Pearlfection Dentistry, we want you to phone us with any questions or concerns about your oral health. We're just 45 minutes from Baltimore or Washington, DC, and we're fully equipped and experienced to help you! Our professional team includes general, cosmetic, and restorative dentists Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Tammira Badakhshan, Dr. Alex Sin Deuk Kim, and Dr. Nikta Pashai, periodontist Dr. Ashley Seals, prosthodontist Dr. Amos Chi, oral surgeon Dr. Brian Chang, endodontist Dr. Pratik Patel and orthodontist Dr. Steven Tigani.
Are you missing one or more teeth? Are you worried your remaining teeth will weaken? Is smiling just plain embarrassing? Why not consider restoring your smile with dental implants from Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD? Experts in everything from general dentistry to gum disease treatment to full mouth reconstruction, this professional team can give you back the smile you want and deserve.
What Is a Dental Implant?
It replaces a single tooth completely from root to crown. Comprised of a titanium screw surgically inserted into the jaw bone, a metal alloy extension post, and a realistic porcelain crown, a dental implant faithfully imitates the appearance and oral function of a natural tooth. Plus, used in combination with bridgework or a full denture, dental implants can breathe new life into a heavily damaged smile.
The American Association of Endodontists says that dental implants last for decades and are highly reliable. This is because the jaw bone actually bonds to the titanium implant through something called osseointegration. Over time, supporting bone strengthens and increases in size and density, as opposed to other tooth replacements (such as conventional fixed bridgework or dentures) that just sit on top of the gums and hold the possibility of weakening the jawbone.
Requirements for Dental Implant Placement
At Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick and Urbana, MD, our team of oral surgeons, periodontists, general doctors and prosthodontists work together to develop a treatment plan and place dental implants in patients who have good systemic health and enough bone in their jaws to accept the implant devices. They carefully examine teeth, gums, and bone structure through an eyes-on examination, digital X-rays, and special three-dimensional scans. They'll formulate a care plan suited to your needs and desires.
A Versatile Tooth Replacement
Dental implants offer great hope for patients with advanced diseases of the mouth, such as oral cancer. After remaking supporting bone and gum tissue after cancer surgery, many patients qualify for placement of dental implants as part of their full mouth reconstructions. Additionally, people with advanced tooth decay, failing restorations, or damage due to oral injury (falls and motor vehicle accidents) may take advantage of dental implants.
Caring for Implants
It's not hard at all. If you're used to brushing twice a day and flossing daily as the American Dental Association recommends, you'll do well with implants. A nutritious diet keeps gums and bones healthy, as does smoking cessation. Smokers can qualify for implant placement. however, implant sites remain much healthier in a tobacco-free environment.
Find Out More
Enjoy a stable, beautiful smile. Call Pearlfection Dentistry today for a consultation. We're just 45 minutes from Baltimore or Washington, DC, and our professional team includes general, cosmetic, and restorative dentists Dr. Jared Lawson, Dr. EJ Stringer, Dr. Tammira Badakhshan, Dr. Alex Sin Deuk Kim, and Dr. Nikta Pashai, periodontist Dr. Ashley Seals, prosthodontist Dr. Amos Chi, oral surgeon Dr. Brian Chang, endodontist Dr. Pratik Patel and orthodontist Dr. Stephen Tigani.
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