By now, you may have heard about the link between gum disease and other systemic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Recently, the link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and periodontal (gum) disease has made headlines as researchers discovered strong links between RA and gum infections.
The Connection Culprit – Common Bacterium
Scientists long suspected that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, had ties to same bacterial source. Last year, an article published in Science Translational Medicine, outlines the results of a study from Johns Hopkins Former Fellow, Maximilian Konig, identifying the common bacterium between RA and periodontal disease – aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.
According the article, the connection was first discovered in the 1990s but focused on a different bacterium. We need more extensive research to fully understand all aspects of this complex connection between periodontal disease and the rest of the body. In the meantime, we know that healthy gums are part of good overall health and leaving infection in the gums untreated can lead to, and complicate, other conditions.
Who Can Treat Periodontal Disease?
In many cases, an experienced general dentist can treat early-stage gum disease.
Common symptoms include:
- Bleeding or inflamed gums
- Gum recession
- Redness or pain in gum tissue
- Tooth mobility
- Bad breath
- Pocketing between teeth and gums
Typically, treatment will include a series of specialized dental cleanings to remove infection, bacteria, and tartar. A localized antibiotic application or antimicrobial rinse may also accompany treatment. Regular follow-up dental cleanings help to keep your oral health on track.
If you need a dentist in Wilmington, DE who understands the complexity of the mouth-body health connection and can help restore your oral health, Dr. Mark Gladnick welcomes new patients. His professional dental hygiene team provides thorough yet gentle periodontal dental cleanings that promote healing gums and healthy smiles.
Give us a call today to learn more.