If only the gums shown here could talk!
The adjacent photos were taken at the office of Dr. Julie Gillis in Grand Junction, Colorado. Our phone number is (970) 242-3635. This patient had no idea of the extent of gum disease and periodontal disease present in her mouth!
The treatment in our office consisted of periodontal debridement (a specialized cleaning) and diode laser treatment combined with instruction in oral health care – brushing and flossing – by the patient. The tissues are not yet perfect but getting there! and the entire mouth is healthier!
We would like to share this information from the Wall Street Journal/ Health Journal December 27th 2011
If Your Teeth Could Talk …
The Mouth Offers Clues to Disorders and Disease; Dentists Could Play Larger Role in Patient Care
By MELINDA BECK
There’s also growing evidence that the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular problems isn’t a coincidence either. Inflammation in the gums raises C-reactive protein, thought to be a culprit in heart disease.
“They’ve found oral bacteria in the plaques that block arteries. It’s moved from a casual relationship to a risk factor,” says Mark Wolff, chairman of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at NYU College of Dentistry.
Bacteria from the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and cause problems elsewhere, which is why people contemplating elective surgery are advised to have any needed dental work performed first.
The American Heart Association no longer recommends that people with mitral valve prolapse (in which heart values close abnormally between beats) routinely take antibiotics before dental procedures, since it’s now believed that oral bacteria enter the bloodstream all the time, from routine washing, brushing and chewing food.
But the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association and the American Orthopedic Association all urge people who have had a full joint replacement to take an antibiotic one hour before any dental visit for the rest of their lives to reduce the risk of post-surgical infections. “I have my guidelines taped to the door in my hygienists’ room,” Dr. Kivowitz says.
Dentists say they also need to stay up to date with all medications, supplements and over-the-counter drugs their patients are taking. Blood thinners can create excess bleeding in the mouth. Bisphosphonates, often prescribed for osteoporosis, can severely weaken jaw bones. Both should be stopped temporarily before oral surgery.
Antihypertensive drugs, calcium-channel blockers and some anti-inflammatory drugs can cause painful ulcerations of the gums. Many medications, from antidepressants to chemotherapy drugs, cause dry mouth, which can cause cavities to skyrocket, since saliva typically acts as a protective coating for teeth. Additional fluoride treatments can help.
Write to Melinda Beck at HealthJournal@wsj.com