Periodontal Disease Essay

Pages: 5 (1562 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

Periodontal disease has different degrees and stages of severity but can result in loss of teeth in the later more severe stages. However, what is disturbing is that this disease is becoming more prevalent in our modern 'developed' societies. (Albandar, Brunelle and Kingman, 1999) Even more disturbing is the fact that the link between periodontal disease and other illnesses are often not detected or given sufficient attention. There is little doubt that a long-term pervasive gum infection leading to periodontitis can affect the immune system and general health.

The central thesis that will be examined in this paper is that periodontal disease should be seen in the context of overall body health and that more attention should be given to the ways in which this disease is linked to or impacts on other ailments and diseases. This therefore suggests that even mild forms of this disease should be treated with urgency and that oral health and hygiene is not something to be taken lightly as it has an affect and impact on the total health of the individual.

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Simply stated, periodontitis is a type of gum disease that is characterized by a chronic infection of the gums, which results from a loss of attachment between the tooth and the jawbone. " Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth" (Types of Gum Disease). Importantly, periodontal disease"... is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the United States" (Periodontal disease).

In more detail, the teeth are attached to the jaw by means of ligaments and the gums are connected to the various teeth by a complex array of minute fibers. Periodontal diseases begins "....in the shallow pocket where the tooth and gum meets, usually as a milder form of gum infection known as gingivitis" (Types of Gum Disease).

TOPIC: Essay on Periodontal Disease Assignment

The central cause of this disease is when bacteria begin to grow in the area where the tooth and the gum meet. The ostensible cause of Periodontitis is usually due to poor dental hygiene. As a result of the growth of the bacteria the gap between the tooth and the gum increases, making cleaning more difficult and this in turn leads to tartar deposits. (Types of Gum Disease) as the disease progresses, it can also lead to further infections and to the inflammation of the bone, which can result in the loss of the tooth. The loss of bone due to the progression of the disease is characteristic of the stage of the disease known as periodontitis; whereas, prior the loss of bone the disease is known as gingivitis

Types of periodontal disease

3.1. Gingivitis and its symptoms

As has been referred to,

Gingivitis is the less severe form of periodontal disease. It occurs before there is severe bone deterioration and it can result in the gums becoming red, swollen, and bleed easily. (Types of Gum Disease) However, there may be very few symptoms in the early stages of Gingivitas. An important aspect is that this stage of periodontal disease is completely reversible with adequate oral hygiene. (Types of Gum Disease)

Periodontitis: an irreversible stage

If gingivitis is left untreated and the necessary oral hygiene is not implemented to combat it, then it can develop into the more severe periodontal stages. This occurs when, plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.

Types of Gum Disease)

This ongoing destructive process has in fact very few initial severe symptoms. However, the teeth can eventually become loose and may have to be removed. (Types of Gum Disease)

There are a number of different forms of periodontitis. Aggressive periodontitis takes place in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. It is characterized by rapid loss of attachment and bone destruction. The condition known as chronic periodontitis can lead to inflammation of the supporting tissues of the teeth and progressive attachment and bone loss. (Types of Gum Disease) This is the most common form of the disease and is characterized by"... pocket formation and/or recession of the gingival" (Types of Gum Disease). This form of periodontitis is often found in adults but has also been found to in all age groups. The progression of bone destruction in this case is usually slower than with aggressive periodontitis.

Another variation of this disease is periodontitis as a manifestation of other systemic diseases. This type of periodontitis is associated with health issues such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. (Types of Gum Disease) This condition is very often found to occur in young patients. Lastly, necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. This serious condition is usually found in individuals with systemic health conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression. (Types of Gum Disease)

The general symptoms associated with this type of diseases include various commonly experienced aspects. These include red, swollen and tender gums; indications of bleeding while brushing or flossing; receding gums; loose or separating teeth and persistent odorous breath. Other symptoms can include dentures that no longer fit well as pus between the teeth and gums and a change in bite and jaw alignment. (Oral Health: Periodontal Diseases)

4. Impact on overall health

Periodontal disease has been positively linked to other diseases and illnesses. Medical research has for example established a possible link between periodontal disease and various respiratory ailments and diseases. While conclusive definitive evidence of these links is still tenuous, what is known with some certainty is that, "...mouth infections like periodontal disease are associated with increased risk of respiratory infection..." And "... research has revealed that periodontal (gum) disease may be a far more serious threat to your health than previously realized" (Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal (Gum) Disease and General Health).

Therefore, there is a growing body of evidence that associates periodontal disease with other illnesses and general health issues and research is being conducted to ascertain whether periodontal disease exacerbates other illnesses.

One of these areas of study is the relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease. One hypothesis in this regard is that, "...oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the bloodstream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation..." (Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal (Gum) Disease and General Health). This can contribute to the possibly of heart attacks. Significantly, researchers have found that,.".. people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease" (Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal (Gum) Disease and General Health).

Another research finding that establishes a link between periodontal disease and other heath risks is that pregnant women are as much as seven times more likely to have a baby that is premature or is too small. (Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal (Gum) Disease and General Health) Doctors suggest that pregnant women who have periodontal disease should consult a periodontal expert.

Further evidence of the link between these diseases can be seen in the possible relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. It has been known for many years that diabetics are more likely to show signs of periodontal disease than those people without diabetes. It has also been suggested in the literature that their may be a reciprocal relationship between this disease and diabetes.

Recently, research has emerged suggesting that the relationship goes both ways - periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Though… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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