4423 1st St
Livermore, CA 94551
Torabinejad, Mahmoud D.D.S.
600 N Euclid Ave # 102
Upland, CA, 91786-4779
Dr. Randy Johnsons Center For Contemporary Dentis
2581 Nut Tree Rd Ste A
Vacaville, CA, 95687-6915
Simon Hong, DMD, Inc
20395 Yorba Linda Blvd
Yorba Linda, CA, 92886-3062
Eguchi, Dennis D.D.S.
390 S Green Valley Rd # 3
Watsonville, CA, 95076-3077
It is well established that the main cause of gingivitis, or periodontal disease, is bacterial plaque. But not everyone responds the same to the same bacterial infection. There are many factors that can contribute to making someone more or less susceptible to the progression of periodontitis. These factors are called risk factors. They can increase the risk, severity, and speed at which the disease develops. Some risk factors can be modified. If they are, gum disease and tissue destruction can be controlled and maybe even prevented with periodontal treatment.
1. Poor Oral Hygiene: The bacterial plaque that continuously forms on the teeth is the main cause of periodontal infections. Without bacterial plaque there cannot be periodontitis. But as the amount of plaque increases, so does the risk for the disease. There is a shift in the bacterial population of plaque from one that is compatible with health, to one that is responsible for the disease. The best way to help control or prevent the progression of periodontal diseases is to follow a diligent plaque control program that includes daily brushing and flossing.
2. Crowded Teeth: Crowded teeth can contribute to plaque retention and interfere with oral hygiene. If this becomes a problem, it may be necessary to reshape the teeth or move them to a better position with the use of dental appliances or braces.
3. Poor Fitting Dentures, Fillings, or Crowns: These factors also may contribute to plaque retention and interfere with oral hygiene methods. If this is the case, the restorations may need to be reshaped, polished, or even replaced.
4. Occlusion (the way the teeth bite or come together): The forces created by an unbalanced bite, by clenching, or by grinding of the teeth, can accelerate the progression of bone destruction and periodontal disease. These forces can also contribute to excessive wear of the teeth, fractures, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, or root canal problems. People who clench or grind their teeth may not be conscious of it, but may experience sore jaw muscles, TMJ problems, headaches, and neck or shoulder pain. Most people are more susceptible to clenching or grinding during periods of high stress. These habits can be controlled and treated with specially made dental appliances (night guards), braces, reshaping of the biting surfaces of the teeth, exercises, medications, or a combination of the above.
5. Tobacco: People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to have periodontitis. They also are more likely to have a poorer and slower response to periodontal treatment. The risk of acquiring periodontal disease decreases after smoking cessation and former smokers and non-smokers respond the same to treatment from a periodontist. Smoking cessation is beneficial to periodontal and overall health.
6. Poor Nutrition: Although periodontal disease is not caused by nutritional deficiency, a diet low in nutrients can diminish the effectiveness of the body's immune system. This reduces the resistance to infections such as periodontitis. To aid in the body's capacity to fight infections, maintain a well-balanced diet and avoid fad diets that exclude entire food groups and limit nutrients.
7. Stress: Stress reduces the immune response and makes it hard for the body to fight infection. A study has shown that people who are under financial stress and have poor coping ability have a two-fold increase in the incidence of periodontal disease.
8. Pregnancy and Female Hormonal Changes: The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, and menstruation can make the gums more sensitive to bacterial plaque and increase the risk for periodontal disease. Pre-existing periodontal problems can become more severe if plaque is not controlled. So an efficient and consistent plaque control program is essential in maintaining periodontal health through pregnancy and all stages of life.
9. Systemic Diseases: Certain systemic (general body) diseases, such as AIDS and diabetes, may decrease the body's ability to fight infection and can result in more severe periodontal disease. Always keep your dental care provider informed of changes in medical status.
10. Medication: Drugs such as birth control pills, immunosuppressants, anti-depressants, and some heart medications can also increase the risk for periodontal disease. Patients should inform their dental care provider of any changes in the medications that they may be taking.
11. Genetics: Up to 30% of the population may have a gene that is linked with an increased susceptibility to periodontal disease. Although genetics is not modifiable, knowing one's genetic profile puts individuals in a proactive position regarding dental health. Through proper home care, periodontal maintenance visits, modification of known risk factors, and early intervention, individuals have an excellent chance of keeping their teeth for a lifetime.
By Laura Minsk, DMD
It's important for your dentist to know if you have diabetes, and how you're controlling it. Good control of your diabetes affects your oral health as well as your overall health.
Diabetics tend to be less resistant to infection than non-diabetics, have more fragile bones, and take longer to heal after an operation.
An oral infection can make diabetes worse, which makes the infection worse, which makes the diabetes worse - and so on into a major medical problem.
Diabetics develop severe gum disease more often, too, especially over the age of 40. Once gum inflammation - gingivitis - sets in, it can erupt into periodontal disease or even infection in the jaw. In undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetics, this could mean tooth loss.
Practice preventive dentistry and follow the medication, diet, and meal schedules recommended by your physician. This, with balanced rest and exercise, will bolster your resistance to disease, including oral infections and cavities.
If you're taking insulin injections, you may want to schedule appointments around your medication times. The stress of an examination or procedure can change the way your body uses insulin. Your dentist will want to be prepared to help you in case you have a reaction. And let him or her know if you are taking any other medications. Drug interactions can be serious.
You may want to have your gums examined (and have a dental cleaning) by a dental hygienist more often than twice a year - just to make sure nothing suspicious gets started.
And on the home front, good dental hygiene - controlling plaque, the invisible bacterial film that undermines teeth - is crucial. Home care rules to live by: brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. The more, the better.