periodontal disease and systemic connection

The oral cavity is a portal to various parts of your body. Recent studies have shown that periodontal disease is linked to various types of systemic conditions and diseases. Periodontal pathogens consists of strains of bacteria that can invade the gingival tissue and enter the bloodstream, circulating throughout the body. The bacteria can secrete harmful toxins and virulence factors. These factors activate the body's immune systme to respond much in the same way as the body responds to infected cuts or illnesses like pneumonia; with inflammation, pain and destruction of the tissues. The connection between oral and systemic disease means individuals with periodontal disease can be at high risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, premature and low birth weight babies, respiratory diseases, pancreatic cancer and osteoporosis.

There is a correlation between periodontal disease and hormonal changes among women. Women are susceptible to periodontal disease at certain stages of life. Hormonal fluctuations can affect the blood supply to the gingiva as well as react to irritants from bacterial plaque.

Successful periodontal treatment can significantly reduce the risks of bacterial infection, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is important to have a complete and recent physical examination by your physician before you proceed with your periodontal therapy. Be sure to provide Dr. Ekelman with a list of specific drugs you are currently taking for certain medical conditions. Some commonly prescribed medications can cause dry mouth which contributes to rapid plaque formation and bleeding.

To learn more about the systemic links, see and THE SYSTEMIC LINK: Bacteria In The Oral Cavity Linked To Disease