Periodontal Medicine

What we know is that you can’t have good general health without good oral health. That is the main concept of Periodontal Medicine.
In recent years it has been the subject of study, and determined hypothesis, that Periodontal diseases have a significant effect on systematic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory infections, osteoporosis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Pretty significant.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammation and infection of the ligament and alveolar socket that support the teeth. It involves the decay of these tooth-supporting systems and can have major effects on general health.
Periodontitis was once believed to be associated with aging – an inevitable consequence. However, periodontitis can occur at any age. Ranging from factors such as hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, immune dysfunctions, and many other systematic factors, periodontitis is not merely associated with aging anymore.
In respect to causation of periodontitis, it is initiated by the build-up of bacteria within the mouth – or gingivitis. Dental plaque combines with its metabolic products (for example, endotoxin) and stimulates tissue destroying proteins. The gingival crevice along the surface of the tooth deepens and produces periodontal pockets.
Visible symptoms can include bleeding, deep pockets, recession, and looseness of the tooth. However, periodontitis can also go completely unnoticed. Regardless the result will lead to teeth that become too loose and either will fall out or will have to be extracted.

There are multiple forms of Periodontitis:

1. Chronic Periodontitis (CP) This is the most common form of periodontitis. CP is characterized by deep pockets, as well as recession of the gums. While CP often progresses slowly, is can also include periods of rapid progression, or remission.
Chronic periodontitis causes the immune system to engage in a “battle against invaders” for dozens of years. Sometimes, as a result of a decreased immune system the body has fewer resources left to battle other diseases thus increasing the chance of developing diseases like cancer.
2. Aggressive Periodontitis Characterized by rapid progression and tooth loss, as well as bone destruction, even in the absence of plaque. Typically this form of periodontitis occurs during puberty (10-30 years of age), in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

The association of periodontal disease with systematic conditions (such as diabetes, some cancers, and adverse pregnancy outcomes), is determined to be related to the inflammatory response of periodontitis due to the presence of certain proteins (C-reactive protein), as well as the presence of certain cytokines associated with cancer.

What does this mean for Medicine?

As you can probably tell by now, periodontitis and systematic disorders are integrally linked. The mouth is not separate from the rest of the body, in fact, it is literally and figuratively “the gateway to the body”.
This link between the body and oral health has been deemed Periodontal Medicine. As periodontitis is treatable, as well as preventable, we have new opportunities to treat, prevent, and improve prognosis of linking systematic conditions.

What do we suggest?

Maintain your oral health as best you can. See your Dentist regularly, brush at least twice daily, floss, and eat well!


Essentials of Periodontal Medicine in Preventive Medicine
Periodontal Disease and Overall Health: A Clinician’s Guide


#102-3737 Oak Street, Vancouver BC




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