Factors Influencing Periodontal Disease
Periodontal Disease and Tobacco
Not only has tobacco been proven to develop cancer, lung disease and heart disease, tobacco, including smokeless tobacco, has also now been proven to have a direct correlation with periodontal disease. Tobacco usage causes a higher production of calculus on the teeth. This production results in deeper pocket space, and weakened bone that hold the teeth in place. The use of tobacco often makes treatment of periodontal disease difficult. Other conditions that may result from tobacco use include, mouth sores, recession of the gums, tooth staining, foul breath and tooth loss. It is highly advised and encouraged to immediately stop the use of tobacco products.
Periodontal Health and Women:
The hormone levels are constantly fluctuating in women in all stages puberty, pregnancy and menopause. These levels often influence the tissues found in a woman’s body. In puberty, the sex hormones heighten sensitivity in the gums and cause an increase in build-up of plaque and bacteria. Indications of these changes include swollen or red gums, and bleeding may also be present. These conditions are often also seen during menstruation.
Common oral findings during pregnancy include changes in gingival appearance, gingivitis, periodontal infections, bleeding, sensitivity, erosion of the teeth and sometimes an oral pyogenic granuloma, as known as a “pregnancy tumor”. This condition is benign and generally not painful. If the growth of the granuloma continues after delivery, it can be surgically removed. If you are experiencing frequent nausea and vomiting, your teeth may be eroding.
It is recommended to eat smaller meals, use a sodium bicarbonate rinse after vomiting, chew sugarless gum after eating and use a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. It is important for expectant women to take their prenatal vitamins, including folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate. If any of these symptoms appear, or if you have any questions or concerns, it is important to talk to your dentist and gynecologist.
The hormonal changes from menopause can alter both appearance and feeling of the mouth. General symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, irritability, anxiety, tension and weight gain. The oral manifestations of menopause include gingival changes due to an exaggerated response to dental biofilm, discomfort such as burning sensations of the tongue, altered taste perception, dry mouth, and bone loss associated with osteoporosis. It is important to be aware of any of these changes.
Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is a progressive metabolic bone disease that decreases bone density, with deterioration of bone structure. It is caused by the hormonal disturbances of the endocrine system, the depletion of estrogen after menopause, and from a calcium deficiency. This disease is often prone in elderly patients, particularly women. If you have osteoporosis, it is critical that you take special care and treatment of your periodontal health to help protect and preserve the teeth and bones in the mouth.
Nutrition in Relation to Periodontology:
Most patients do not recognize the relationship between nutritional status, eating habits, and oral health. Poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease, but it can make an existing condition worse. Defense mechanisms of the gingival tissues and saliva can be affected by nutritional intake. A well-nourished host can be a primary factor in balancing the severity of periodontal disease and reducing its extent.
The six major forms of nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats), water, vitamins and minerals.
Benefits of the dairy group are that they contain protein to assist in growth, maintenance, and repair. Dairy contains calcium, which is the most abundant mineral in the body. 99% of the calcium in the body is found in the teeth and bones. The dairy group contains phosphors, which assists in the formation of teeth and bones.
Protein helps repair diseases or injured tissue. It aids the body in forming antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Protein contains properties that may protect teeth from acid demineralized. It can also buffer acids to help restore normal mouth pH.
Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that keep tissues and the immune system healthy. They have a good source of fiber, which helps move waste through the colon. Raw fruits and vegetables increase salivation and help strengthen the periodontium.
Your teeth need nutrients! Protein, calcium, phosphors, vitamin A, C, and D are essential to maintaining good oral health.
Common oral findings that may impact your nutritional intake are…
- Denture Stomatitis – an infection and redness of the tissue caused by a denture
- Burning Mouth Syndrome – a condition where the tongue appears smooth, shiny, and bald with a burning sensation
- Altered taste perception – decreased enjoyment and intake or over-seasoning (like salt or sugar) to enhance flavor.
- Xerostomia – also referred to as dry mouth. Condition where there is reduced or inadequate saliva flow.
If you experience any of these or notice an abnormality in your mouth that causes you to change your eating habits, or inhibits you from getting the foods you and your teeth need it is important to contact your dentist immediately.