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Man lifting lip to reveal gum disease

Oral diseases present huge challenges for dentists, as working towards helping people maintain their oral health is a consistent and daily challenge. To combat these diseases, dentists only have treatments and prevention techniques that can be used to help negate the risks. Periodontal disease presents massive problems because of the nature of the disease and its impact on the bloodstream. It’s widely known that periodontal disease in its most advanced stages often leads to tooth loss and TMJ disorder because of the infiltration of bacteria. But in many cases, researchers work to identify the long-term problems that diseases such as periodontal disease can cause, and one link that researchers have made is with cancer.

The Periodontal-Cancer Disease Connection

The origins of periodontal disease often stem from poor oral hygiene. As bacteria develops in the mouth, it adheres to the tooth’s surface, giving way for the gums to be infected. Once that infection occurs, gum disease begins to deteriorate the gum line and cause the gums to recede. When the gum recedes past that threshold, it transforms into periodontal disease, significantly impacting the tooth’s ability to maintain its structure within the jawline and wears down at the jawbone. In retrospect, receiving treatment for periodontal disease requires constant control through medications and dental cleanings to remove the bacteria and prevent it from reoccurring.

Often, periodontal disease results lead to drastic consequences for the mouth – the gums recede so severely that it requires reconstruction to fix, the teeth become so loose and damaged that they require replacements. The jawline can cause so much pain that treatments can only be used to treat it. Those risks are only present at the surface of this chronic oral disease. For the long-term effects of periodontal disease, the bacteria that infiltrate the bloodstream causes gradual changes to the body over time, affecting the immune system’s ability to negate disease, impacting the blood cell’s ability to recognize and fight harmful bacteria, which often leads to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and as previously stated, cancer:

  • Studies from the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology have looked into the effects that the bacteria strains often found in periodontal disease have in correlation with oral cancers. Researchers found that the pockets of bacteria within the gum line often contain viruses such as the human papillomavirus and cytomegalovirus, which leads to chronic inflammation and creates enzymes correlated with early-stage cancer development carcinogenesis. These suspected agents make this correlation highly possible, even while more research is needed to conclude this connection.

How To Lower Your Chances of Periodontal Disease

Luckily, preventing periodontal disease is quite easy. Some of the best methods you can use to prevent periodontal disease are by brushing and flossing your teeth, seeing your dentist yearly for that annual checkup, and keeping your mouth healthy by drinking water and eating healthy, fiber-filled foods. Even while cancer research is still being developed to this day, maintaining your oral health can help decrease your chances over time and help keep your smile healthy and clean.

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Dr. Beau Blankenship, DDS Under the guidance of Dr. Beau Blankenship, Sabal General Dentistry brings dental care to families in and around the Rockdale, TX area with over a decade of experience. As a dental surgery graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, he focuses on building patient relationships that last a lifetime.

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