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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.
If you have ever been scared to go to the dentist and wish you could just go to sleep and wake up with all the work, that you have been putting off for years, done and have the movie star perfect smile, or you wish that bothersome tooth could be gone and with it the pain. If either of these sound familiar you might want to read on. You might want to learn more about sedation dentistry in Frederick Maryland and Urbana Maryland. Also, if you like the idea of all your dental care, from cleanings and Zoom Whitening, to major wisdom teeth surgery and implants, done in one place by the most competent team around, you may want to read on.
Sedation Dentistry refers to the use of drugs to calm and relax a patient prior to and during a dental appointment. The drugs belong to a class of drugs called sedatives, which exert their action by depressing the central nervous system, specifically those areas concerned with conscious awareness. In the dental field of medicine, doctors will use pharmacological chemicals, ranging from pills, to gases to intravenous drugs to achieve a level of sedation that is required to perform the procedures that the patient needs. Most dental patients require little more than local anesthesia, like an injection of Lidocaine or Novocain, but some patients require local anesthesia as well as some sort of sedation procedure.
There are different degrees of central nervous system depression, each corresponding to a level of relaxation which ranges from minimal, moderate, to deep sedation. Minimal sedation is refers to a state of consciousness where a patient is sedated but readily responds to verbal or physical stimulation, Valium or nitrous oxide are the most common examples of minimal sedation. With moderate sedation the patient is even more relaxed, and will respond to purposeful stimulation, but otherwise is not responsive. In deep sedation, the patient may not exhibit any signs of consciousness and therefore will be unresponsive to stimulation. A different level of training is required by a dental team to perform each level. PearlFection Dentistry is sanctioned and licensed by the State of Maryland to perform all levels of sedation, which is both rare for a dental practice and extremely useful when performing comprehensive dental care.
Sedation by pharmacologic methods may be obtained by three general routes. The inhalation route, where a gas is administered to the patient though a mask, where the sedative gas and oxygen are mixed in such a ratio so the patient losses some level of anxiety. The enteral route involves absorption of medication orally, through the digestive tract. This route includes medications that are either swallowed, absorbed through the mucosa of the oral cavity, or inserted rectally. The intravenous route, where pharmacological agents are injected via needle, into the patient’s bloodstream.
What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry has become popular because it offers benefits for both the patient and the dentist. Patients who are simply too scared to have work done when they are conscious, can choose sedation as a way to simply not know what is happening. They go in to the office, have a drug administered and wake up with the work done. It’s easy and eliminates most of the fear. For the dentist, sedation dentistry, allows the doctors at PearlFection Dentistry to perform the work, quickly and without having to worry about the reaction of a nervous patient. For some patient groups, the use of sedation dentistry is the only way that they can get the dental care they need and improve their dental health.
Sedation Dentistry can offer:
- Patient relaxation
- Anxiety control
- Increased comfort
- Movement control
- Patient co-operation
- Control of gag reflex
- Little or no memory of treatment
- Blood pressure control
- All work done in one sitting
- Low cost
- Availability for all ages needs patients
What Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?
Depending on type of sedation needed, costs range from a few hundred dollars per session to several thousand. The most expensive sedation option is Intravenous Sedation (IV Sedation) where a team of at least three must monitor the patient’s vital signs. The least costly sedation methods are oral medications and nitrous oxide. Most practitioners charge by the amount of time needed and insurance companies typically reimburse based on 15-minute increments. At PearlFection Dentistry, we charge by the 15-minute increment, unless it’s a very large procedure lasting several hours and then we will give a flat rate. When oral medication is used, there is no additional costs, except the cost of the drugs, which are purchased at the local pharmacy.
Why PearlFection Dentistry for your Dental Care and Sedation Dentistry?
At PearlFection Dentistry in Frederick Maryland and Urbana Maryland, patients come from hundreds of miles away, even across the country to experience what it is like to truly have a team approach for their most complicated dental procedures. PearlFection Dentistry, is a small practice with only two locations, one in Frederick Maryland and one in Urbana Maryland, but our reputation for quality care has become well known far from the local region. With our staff of board-certified Oral Surgeons, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, Endodontists, and renown Orthodontists, as well as our team of general, restorative and cosmetic dentists, and our ability to administer sedation dentistry, the care we provide during sedation, is second to none. While the patient is sedated, each specialist will do his part. If a patient needs several root canals, several extractions, dental implants, and crowns, bridges or dentures, each specialist will do what they do best and hand the patient off to the next specialist. By the time the patient wakes up, all the work is done and the patient recovers and only had to be in the chair one time. It’s a great option and the results speak for themselves.
How do I learn more about Sedation Dentistry and the Multi-Specialty Approach to dental care at PearlFection?
If you are nervous about dental care, really scared, or flat out petrified, you have read the right article and we can help. The first step is to have a consultation by calling (301) 663-5550 or visit our website and request an appointment www.pearlfectiondentistry.com or www.pearlfectionurbana.com . At the consultation there will be no pain. We will ask you some questions, we will take some x-rays and we will go over your entire mouth, one tooth at time, on a big screen with your x-rays displayed, so you can see what our doctors are talking about. We will discuss treatment options and sedation dentistry options. We will go over the costs and how much your insurance will cover. Once you have all the information and are comfortable with the plan we will schedule the work. From there, all you need to do is show up and we do the rest. We can perform, all your wisdom teeth extractions, all your root canals, all you implants, almost everything all at the same visit. We can even do extractions, implants and dentures the same day so you walk out with a new set of teeth in one appointment. Sound too good to be true? You owe it to yourself to see how sedation dentistry and the multi-specialty dental practice can help you get the dental work you need done, without the pain and fear you are worried about.
PearlFection Dentistry in Frederick Maryland and Urbana Maryland would like to announce the newest addition to our dental team and extend a warm welcome for our patients to schedule an appointment to meet our Board-Certified Prosthodontist, Dr Amos Chi. Dr Chi has joined our practice and we could not be more pleased. Dr Chi brings with him years of expertise in the prosthodontist field, and is able to perform the most complicated and technically challenging prosthodontic procedures, like dentures, crowns, bridges, and all-on-four implant supported dentures. This Board-Certified Prosthodontist is supported by the PearlFection team of general and cosmetic dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, orthodontists, endodontists and entire dental team.
When it comes to providing superior dental care, PearlFection is always looking for the best talent, and with the addition of Dr Chi, our team is that much stronger. Dr Chi, will be the lead prosthodontist on our team, preforming and overseeing the most complicated prosthetic work, ranging from bridges to partial dentures, to full dentures, to total mouth rehabilitations with implant supported fixed dentures, often called “all on four implant supported dentures.” To learn more about dentures, dental implants and the other services we offer, visit our Frederick Maryland dentist website http://www.pearlfectiondentistry.com/services.html or call (301) 663-5550 or visit our Urbana Maryland Dentist website at https://www.pearlfectionurbana.com/services.html or call (301) 831-8303
Dr. Chi is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Dr. Chi graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor degree in Biochemistry. He was awarded the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Maryland in 2005. He completed a three-year residency program specializing in prosthodontics at the U.S. Army Postgraduate Dental School in Augusta, Georgia in 2008, and a Master of Sciences in Oral Biology from Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, August, GA. His thesis entitled ‘Resistance to abrasion of extrinsic porcelain esthetic characterization techniques.’ was published, in July 2017, in the Army Medical Department Journal. Dr. Chi has to his credit a fellowship in Oral Oncology and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics from The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas in 2018 where his clinical work titled ‘Prosthodontic treatment of a patient with Ewing sarcoma of the left maxillary sinus: A clinical report’ was accepted for publication in 2018, in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.
Dr. Chi has been conferred numerous awards. In 2018, he was conferred the Maxillofacial Foundation Award by the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics. In July 2016, Dr. Chi was awarded Meritorious Service Medal by the United States Army. Dr. Chi was as an ‘Invited Speaker’ at International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Korea Section and Seoul International Dental Exhibition & Scientific Congress on the topic of ‘Zirconia Restorations’.
Dr. Chi has multiple scientific papers published in both national and international journals as well as poster discussions at national conferences. Dr. Chi presented two abstracts entitled ‘Prosthodontic treatment of a patient with Ewing sarcoma of the left maxillary sinus: A clinical report’ and ‘The effects of zinc on radiation-induced dysgeusia: A meta-analysis’ during American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics and American College of Prosthodontists meetings in 2018.
Dr. Chi is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists and an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics.
When asked what does Dr Chi bring to the table that readers would be interested in, PearlFection General Manager, Stewart Stringer commented, saying “It is rare to have a team as diverse and competent as PearlFection Dentistry is right now. We have searched the Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania region to find the absolute best dentists and specialists in their specific role. When we bring together this level of specialization great dentistry happens. Dr Chi brings with him year of experience and his expertise in Prosthodontics, combined with our team of Orthodontists, Periodontists, Oral Surgeons, Endodontists and Cosmetic and Family Dentists, is simply hard to find better care in one place. We are proud of what we have created and proud to have doctors like Dr Chi join our team. In addition to being a seasoned and excellent doctor, he’s a genuinely nice guy. We are lucky to have him join our team”
If you would like to learn more about implant supported dentures, dentures in a day, or other prosthodontic options available at PearlFection Dentistry, please call our office at (301) 663-5550 (Frederick Maryland Dentist) and (301) 831-8303 (Urbana Maryland Dentist).
http://www.pearlfectiondentistry.com (Frederick Maryland)
Dentist – Frederick, MD – (301) 663-5550
PearlFection Dentistry – Frederick Maryland
60 Thomas Johnson Dr. Suite 1
Frederick, MD 21702