The philosophy of dentistry revolves around whole health. Your mouth is not an independent entity. It is part of a greater being that is you; and the condition of your mouth can have a dramatic effect on your physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. Periodontal disease is an excellent example of how closely oral health and whole health are intertwined.
This condition is a localized infection, and the problems that it causes were once believed to be confined to the oral cavity. As inflamed gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, roots are exposed, because this part lacks the hard layer of enamel that protects the upper portion, cavities ensue. Without proper treatment, the damage progresses to bone loss, which in turn causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. This alone should be a sufficient reason to take periodontal disease seriously, but the damage does not stop there.
Naturally, your own immune system wages war on the infection. Over time, the effects of that war may take a toll on your body. Potential risks of uncontrolled periodontal disease include:
- Severe stress on your immune system
- Increase your risk of heart attack
- Increase your risk of stroke
- Reduce your natural immunity to other infections
- Exacerbate respiratory disease
- Inhibit healthy digestion
Poor oral hygiene allows plaque and tartar to accumulate, creating a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms. If you neglect your mouth, you are certainly inviting cavities and gum disease. However, contrary to popular belief, good hygiene isn't always enough to prevent gum disease, and it is not necessarily the patient's fault. Many people are surprised to learn that factors such as diabetes, poor nutrition, smoking, and certain prescription drugs can also increase their risk of gum disease.
Your dentist will begin with an examination and review of your medical history, to understand, and help you also understand your oral health. Nutritional guidance, patient education, and dental care that is customized to your individual needs, is the best foundation for preventive or restorative treatment. From there, the dentist will work with you to devise a comprehensive treatment plan to restore and maintain optimal health.
Dentistry is not just about teeth, or even gums. It is about people, and remember that dentists are there to help you.