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Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Even with wear and tear from years of eating and biting they can continue to function properly and look attractive well into your senior years.
Teeth are resilient thanks in part to enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. But the gums also contribute to this resilience: besides attractively framing the teeth, they protect the dentin and roots below the enamel covering.
Unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or “recede” from their normal place. Not only does this look unattractive, the recession can also expose teeth to disease and cause tooth sensitivity to temperature changes or biting pressure.
There are a number of causes for gum recession, some of which you may have little control over. If, for example, your teeth come in off center from their bony housing, the gum tissues may not develop around them properly. You might also have inherited a thinner type of gum tissue from your parents: thinner tissues are more delicate and susceptible to recession.
But there are other causes for which you have more control. Over-aggressive brushing (too hard for too long), ironically, does more harm than good as it can injure your gums and cause them to recede. More likely, though, your recession is a direct result of neglecting proper hygiene for your teeth and gums.
When teeth aren't properly cleaned through daily brushing and flossing, a thin film of bacteria and food remnant called plaque builds up on tooth surfaces. This can trigger periodontal (gum) disease, which subsequently causes the gum tissues to detach from the teeth and often recede.
To reduce your risk of gum disease, you should gently but thoroughly brush and floss daily, and visit us for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year. If you have a poor bite (malocclusion), consider orthodontic treatment: malocclusions make it easier for plaque to accumulate and harder to remove.
Above all, if you begin to see signs of gum problems — swelling, bleeding or pain — see us promptly for an examination and treatment. Dealing with these issues early is the best way to ensure your gums continue to do their jobs for the long-term.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the leading causees of death in the U.S., affecting nearly 26 million Americans. Diabetes causes the body to not produce or properly supply insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar (or glucose) into energy. People with diabetes may experience a host of other systemic complications, including periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory response to a bacterial infection in the gums. If left untreated, the disease may cause damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth, possibly leading to tooth loss. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop periodontal disease than those without diabetes. Additionally, people with diabetes tend to experience more severe levels of bone loss and more aggressive disease activity.
Links and Increased Risks
The tooth loss seen as a result of severe untreated periodontal disease can make chewing and digesting food difficult, having a negative impact on a diabetic;s ability to maintain proper nutrition and control his or her blood sugar levels. Periodontal disease also raises a person's systemic inflammatory signals, which increase blood sugar. It is important for people with diabetes to treat periodontal disease to eliminate the infection for optimal metabolic control.
A series of 2012 consensus reports from the American Academy of Periodontology and the European Federation of Periodontology indicate "an independent association between moderate periodontitis and an increased risk for the development or progressionof diabetes." The shared culprit in periodontitis and diabetes is inflammation, which can aggravate both conditions.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although a regular oral hygiene routine is important for everyone to follow, people with diabetes should be particularly diligent about how they care for their gums and teeth. In addition to brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, people with diabetes should undergo a yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluation. If periodontal disease is detected, a periodontist can provide treatment that can stop the disease and bring the gums back to a state of health, preventing additional bone or tooth loss. In fact, periodontal treatment has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Keeping Diabetes and Periodontal Disease Under Control
Depending on the patient's unique case, the periodontist will advise on next steps for treatment and care. Patients are advised to develop an informed care team - comprised of a periodontist, physician, and other necessary health professionals - that work together in monitoring and addressing changes in their diabetes or periodontal health statuses.
People with diabetes may want to schedule their dental appointments early in the morning after they have eaten a normal breakfast in order to stabilize blood sugar and prevent a severe or sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
Periodontal Disease and the Inflammation It Causes
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a chronic inflammatory condition in which plaque bacteria accumulate below the gum line. Over time, the inflammatory response to the bacteria can cause the eorision of gum tissue and supporting bone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
The good news is that through such treatments as scaling and root planing, Dr. Cristoforo at Dental Implant and Periodontal Speacialists can help you reduce the inflammation in your gums. There are a few things you can do at home as well to help reduce inflammation in your mouth and throughout your entire body.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids - including oily cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, herring, or sardines) and walnuts - have been found to reduce inflammation. The body doesn't produce these acids naturally, and they can come only from consuming certain foods. Additionally, antioxidant-rich green tea has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
People who exercise regularly demonstrate fewer incidences of periodontal diseasethan those who do not. While moderate exercies may help reduce inflammation in your obdy, extreme exercise (such as running marathons) can actually increase systemic inflammation. Exercise also reduces stress, another risk factor for periodontal disease. Stress has a negative impact on the body's ability to fight infection and inflammation.
It's a very good idea to discuss your exercies plain with a health professional to ensure that it's a good fit for your lifestyle.
Brushing and Flossing
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day as a part of a daily oral health routine. You should also undergo a comprehensive periodontal evaluation every year to assess the health of your gums.
If periodontal disease does develop, your periodontist Dr. Cristoforo can develop an effective treatment plan for your unique needs.
Other Systemic Conditions and Periodontal Disease Development
Research suggests that periodontal disease shares an association with systemic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The AAP recommends that if you are living with any of these conditions, it is important to notify your periodontist about your medical health history. Likewise, if you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, you should make your physician aware and create an informed care team that can manage both our oral and physical ailments effectively.