Periodontal Disease - A Hidden Epidemic
Periodontal disease is a serious and often undiagnosed bacterial infection, characterized by chronic inflammation. If left untreated, it can damage the gum tissue and supporting foundations of the teeth. Symptoms may include bad breath, painful or swollen gums, bleeding, loose teeth, or receding gums. Often, there may be no symptoms at all. If advanced bone loss occurs the teeth may eventually fall out. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. One third of the U.S. population over the age of sixty are edentulous (have lost all their teeth), leading to a loss of self esteem and quality of life. For more information about periodontal disease go to www.perio.org.
Chronic or acute periodontal infection and inflammation often leads to tooth loss, but more importantly, it may lead to many serious overall health problems, including the recently discovered link to Pancreatic Cancer and Alzheimer's. Recent research has demonstrated strong links between the chronic inflammation associated with periodontal disease and serious health problems.
A growing number of research studies, including a report by the U. S. Surgeon General, have found links between chronic periodontal disease and health problems such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and even low birth weight babies.
The link between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and periodontal disease seems particularly strong. Periodontal disease inflames the gums and allows byproducts from the bacterial infection and the pathogenic bacteria themselves to enter into the bloodstream. This in turn triggers the body to make proteins, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), in response to this inflammatory burden. Several other cardiovascular disease markers may also be elevated, namely LpPla2.
Researchers have found that elevated levels of CRP are a marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The higher the CRP level, the greater the risk of heart attack or stroke. A simple blood test for CRP levels should be performed as routinely as cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that treating periodontal disease reduces the level of CRP in the bloodstream in individuals with high levels of CRP.
RPE - Regenerative Periodontal Endoscopy - is an effective, gentle, and economical way to treat periodontal disease and the potential health risks associated with it.