Face the risk of periodontal disease head on The early stages of gum disease often go unnoticed By Joyce Rosenthal, D.D.S.
It’s a regular occurrence: a Patient visits the
dentist after putting it off for years and is shocked to find out they have a mouthful of problems. So, the next time their bi-annual visit approaches, they put it off, not wanting to deal with any more potential problems. The unfortunate reality is that this scenario is more the norm than the exception. While I could write a book about the importance of keeping your regular dentist visits, I want to take this opportunity to highlight what is commonly called “gum disease.” Recent research demonstrates a strong link between periodontal disease and a person’s overall health and well-being. However, most people are unaware of the likelihood of their developing periodontal disease, commonly known, in its mildest form, as gingivitis. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria causes inflammation of the gums, which affects the longterm health of the teeth and bones in the mouth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and permanent damage to gum and bone tissue. The important news is that periodontal disease is preventable and very treatable. Although it can be difficult to detect in its early stages, symptoms may include red and swollen gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, receding gum lines, pain while chewing, loose or separating teeth and/or a change in the way teeth fit together when biting. Your dentist is the best person to determine whether you have, or are at risk for, periodontal disease. Several risk factors are associated with periodontal disease, one of which is genetic susceptibility. Many immigrants may be at higher risk for the disease because of a lack of resistance to oral bacteria and their dietary
history. Studies have shown that individuals of Mexican American descent are at higher risk for developing periodontitis than people of European descent. While the exact reasons are still unclear, a recent study suggests that different inflammatory responses may be to blame for the higher number of immigrants who have periodontal disease. If you are a person at higher risk, then take control of your oral hygiene and ask your dentist about what you can do to combat this disease. In short, if regular dental visits are skipped and a dental problem worsens, there latinopm.com
¡ October 2012!
Latino Perspectives Magazine
Magazine focused on the Arizona Latino Market