Periodontal Disease and Health of the Heart

Causing the Link: Inflammation and Bacteria

Research has revealed that if you have periodontal disease, you are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, and more so if you have high cholesterol. The same research also point out that more than 85 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, while more than 200 million American adults have some form of periodontal condition. The relationship between these two systemic diseases can be attributed to the suspected role of bacteria and inflammation.

Consider this scenario. In the human body, there are always barriers between different tissues. The gums surrounding your teeth are effectively separated from other tissues such as muscles and bone. However, nerves and blood supply are continuously providing stimuli and vital nutrients to all tissues and organs of the body. In cases of gum infection, like periodontal disease, its bacteria can break down the barrier between the gums and underlying connective tissues causing swelling and inflammation.

Normal activities like chewing and brushing can cause bacteria to travel the bloodstream and invade other organs, such as the cardiovascular system.

There is a high possibility that oral bacteria can trigger a similar response that can lead to the formation of plaques in arterial walls of the cardiovascular system. In fact, the same oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis. The fatty deposits, made out of cholesterol, can break loose and clog arteries that may lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Usually, hypertensive people also suffer from high cholesterol levels that contribute to the narrowing of arteries. While scientists are still researching whether inflammation is at the root of the problem, they say it is firmly established that a link exists between periodontal disease and heart disease.

Avoid a Heart Attack: Treat Periodontal Disease in Bellingham

If you wish to know more about this link, visit your Bellingham dentist. Don’t let yourself be a statistic in the growing number of adult Americans with periodontal disease, who might also just have a heart condition.


Oral Health and Kidney Disease: What You Should Know

Linking The Mouth and the Kidneys

Growing in prevalence and associated with severe life-threatening complications, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is becoming a worldwide public health problem. In the US alone, 11.6% of adult Americans have chronic kidney disease. This gradual loss of kidney function, mainly caused by diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure, can lead to waste buildup in the body leading to kidney failure. This state of failure requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Sufferers living with CKD encounter many health issues impacting quality of life. One of this is dental in nature. Did you know that during disease progression, a majority of CKD patients suffer oral complications, foremost is periodontal disease. Because those with kidney disease have weakened immune systems, they are more susceptible to infections. A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population. Some studies even said that it’s 90% of patients.

Patients undergoing dialysis manifest a variety of oral disorders. The teeth, oral mucosa, salivary glands, periodontium, and alveolar bone can all be affected, leading to manifestations like gingival bleeding, early tooth loss, periodontitis, and dry mouth, etc. Because of calcium imbalance or calcium loss the jaw bone can weaken and lead to loss of the teeth.

If a CKD patient requires a dental procedure, he must advise his doctor who will prescribe antibiotic cover to guard against infection. If the patient is on dialysis, dental procedures, even as simple as a tooth extraction, should be scheduled on a non-dialysis day. Heparin, a drug that inhibits blood coagulation, administered during dialysis, may cause some patients to have extra bleeding.

In the same vein, when a patient is scheduled for a kidney transplant, part of the workup is a thorough oral examination. Existing infections from gum disease or advanced tooth decay can defer a transplant procedure or prevent the patient from being eligible for the transplant until dental work is done. Caution is exercised in these situations because any oral infection can compromise these treatments for CKD.

Chronic Kidney Disease Patient in Bellingham

If you have a CKD patient who require expert oral care, see us in Bellingham. We at Dr. Tetrick’s know the special considerations for those with kidney disease.

The Dental Patient with Parkinson’s Disease

Chewing and Swallowing with Parkinson’s Disease

About 1 million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease or PD, that we know as a neurodegenerative disorder wherein brain cells progressively die. Parts of the brain affected will manifest in motor and nonmotor symptoms. Hence, there’ll be tremors, rigidity, extreme slowness of movement, and impaired balance. Swallowing and speaking difficulties are also common, all seriously affecting quality of life.

Persons with Parkinson’s also have oral health issues just like anyone else. However, they face more challenging scenarios that impede or at least make difficult dental problems that are otherwise simple for healthier individuals.

If facial muscles are affected, it can change the way they speak or chew food, more so if they have a toothache or are missing some teeth. Unable to chew, Parkinson’s sufferers are unable to swallow more than bite-sized food and can run the risk of choking. They can also accidentally aspirate or inhale food or drink particles that can lead to lung infections, like pneumonia. If they have rheumatoid arthritis and are taking medications for that, the drugs can depressed their immune system and leave them open to a higher risk of infections that their oral cavity and structures may not be able to handle.

It may seem that little may have changed with regards to the dental challenges faced by persons with PD. Many years ago, a study in Hokkaido, Japan tested a group of patients with the condition as against a control group. It concluded that PD patients had more complaints about their oral health and more problems in oral health behavior than the general population.

It reported also that PD patients had more complaints of chewing difficulties and denture discomfort than controls. Fewer PD patients had their own teeth. Likewise, it also said that few PD patients cleaned their dentures every day and more than half of them had problems with swallowing.

Be that as it may, regular visits to the dentist, as well as twice daily brushing and flossing, and proper cleaning of dentures, will help to eliminate most dental issues with persons suffering from Parkinson’s.

Caring for the Parkinson’s Patient in Bellingham

Bellingham dentistry recognizes the special needs of persons with PD, the condition making proper oral hygiene and oral health behavior full of challenges. We are more than capable to meet those. Come visit us for an appointment.