National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet Periodontal DiseasesPeriodontal d...
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National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet Periodontal Diseases

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet Periodontal Diseases

  • 1. National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet Periodontal DiseasesPeriodontal diseases are a group of disorders of the gums, or gingiva, and the tissues around the teeth. Like most broadlydescriptive terms, periodontal diseases vary in severity, from the reversible mild inflammation called gingivitis--that manypeople encounter off and on throughout their lives--to the sometimes irreversible severe chronic periodontitis that badlyerodes the bone and other supporting structures of the tooth, leading to the loss of the tooth. An estimated 80 percent ofAmerican adults have some form of periodontal disease, and the condition tends to hit smokers hardest. The risk ofperiodontal diseases is higher in individuals with diabetes.Fifty Years Ago• In the 1950s, tooth loss was extremely common, • The fundamental role of the immune system in largely because of rampant tooth decay and untreated causing periodontal diseases was largely overlooked periodontal diseases. just a generation ago. Research has established that periodontal diseases arise when specific oral bacteria• The primary research focus was on oral bacteria. infect gum tissue, triggering a complex immune Periodontal diseases were thought to begin when response and progressive inflammation that play a chalky white deposits called calculus accumulated major role in causing periodontitis. This knowledge near the gingiva, along the base of the tooth. Many has opened a critical area of study to improve believed it served as an irritant and wedge that periodontal care. opened a small pocket between the tooth and gingiva, allowing bacteria to freely enter and progressively • Periodontal diseases are no longer viewed as an erode the bone and the other supporting structures of inevitable result of aging. Even though moderate the tooth. disease affects a majority of adults, more severe periodontitis affects only five to 15 percent of adults.• Periodontal disease was viewed as a linear process • Gingivitis and more severe periodontal diseases now that started with gingivitis. Without proper are recognized as distinct conditions. Researchers treatment, people were told their gingivitis would now know that gingivitis does not necessarily lead to inevitably progress to periodontitis, advanced severe disease and tooth loss. disease, and ultimately tooth loss. All people were thought to be susceptible to severe periodontitis, • With this greater understanding, dentists can better especially as they aged. treat their patients. In addition to improved consumer dental products to help prevent periodontal disease, aToday greater awareness exists about those at greatest risk and who might benefit from more regular periodontal• The most recent survey of the nation’s oral health, care. These include smokers, people with diabetes, released in 2005, showed a continued decline in and those taking certain types of anti-seizure periodontal disease among American adults and an medications, cancer drugs, oral contraceptives, and associated reduction in tooth loss. According to the some calcium channel blockers. survey, Americans age 20 and older have on average about 24 of their natural teeth. Without research on Tomorrow the causes and treatment of periodontal disease, that number would be much lower. • Scientists now know that the bacteria in our mouths exist as a complex, multi-layered community, or oral biofilm. Scientists already are in the process of dissecting the dynamics of these bacterialNational Institutes of Health Periodontal Diseases – 1
  • 2. communities. This research may give dentists the tools to target their treatment specifically to the bacteria that trigger periodontal disease. At the same time, because biofilms form throughout the body and nature, research advances may have broad applications in medicine and environmental studies.• For those who develop advanced periodontal disease, researchers are working to regenerate the damaged or lost bone and restore the tooth support to its natural state.• Oral bacteria shed from chronic periodontal infections enter the circulatory system, and may contribute to diseases of the heart and other organs. The role of periodontal diseases in causing or contributing to other serious conditions is the subject of ongoing laboratory and clinical research. As this research unfolds in the coming years, it may be that a trip to the dentist not only could have benefits for your oral health but also help to reduce your chances of developing related systemic conditions.National Institutes of Health Periodontal Diseases – 2

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