Periodontal Disease and your General Health

There is a growing body of evidence that supports a relationship between your oral health and general health.  Periodontal disease is considered a chronic inflammatory disease.  Chronic inflammatory diseases cause an increase in the levels of inflammation in the bloodstream and body.  Other examples of chronic inflammatory diseases are the following:

  • Diabetes (especially type 2)

  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease

  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)

  • Alzheimer’s

  • Certain types of cancer

  • Ulcerative colitis and Chron’s Disease

As the levels of inflammation increase in your body, it can increase your risk factor for developing additional diseases and conditions.  For example, periodontal disease is much more common and more severe in patients that have uncontrolled diabetes.  Conversely, the treatment of periodontal can reduce your risk of developing these other conditions.  Research has shown that treatment of periodontal disease has improved blood sugar control in diabetic patients.  Dr. Laborde has done extensive research in the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.   

 

 

 

Understanding Inflammation

Inflammation is not always harmful and its effects on the body are not completely understood.  In the short term, inflammation can be helpful.  This is called acute inflammation and is often the body’s first immune system response to infection, trauma or irritants.  It is usually characterized by heat, pain, redness and swelling.  In this stage, inflammation helps to eliminate the cause of infection and initiate the healing response.  This is a short acting controlled response by the body.   

 

Prolonged inflammation, also called chronic inflammation, can lead to the damage of cells, tissues and organs.  This is an uncontrolled response that can be triggered by a number of genetic and environmental factors.  Periodontal disease is an example of chronic inflammation.  In this condition, certain individual’s have an over response to the plaque and bacteria around the teeth.  This response is largely controlled by genetics because not everyone is at risk for developing periodontal disease.