Risk and Modifying Factors for Periodontal Disease

Now that you’ve learned about predisposing factors in detail, we will now move on and discuss two other equally-important factors that contribute to the development of periodontal disease – risk and modifying factors. Again, these factors are systemic factors that are either a medical problem or a behavioral condition. They differ in the sense that a risk factor increases your chances of developing the disease, while modifying factor hastens disease progression by affecting the body’s immune response.

A certain condition can both be a risk and a modifying factor, and that’s what we will focus on in this article. Diabetes and tobacco use will be excluded, since their effects are discussed exclusively in separate articles.

Disorders that Affect Immunity:

Immune disorders contribute to periodontal disease via any of these two ways. First is by exaggerating the body’s immune response to bacteria in plaque and second by impairing the response itself, making the individual at high risk for infection.

Disorders that affect immunity include immune depressive, gastrointestinal, metabolic (i.e. diabetes), hematologic (a.k.a. blood), and genetic disorders. Genetic disorders, in particular, have been found to make an individual susceptible to periodontal disease despite having aggressive oral hygiene practices.

Identifying the disease through genetic tests even before it shows up allows for early intervention and help save the teeth that would otherwise be lost to periodontal disease.

Stress:

Stress is not a disease itself, but rather a serious condition that could lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and cancer to name a few. Recently, it also has been found to be linked to periodontal disease.

According to studies, stress depresses the body’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight off disease-causing organisms.

Medications:

Certain medications can impact periodontal health. These include birth control pills, calcium channel blockers, and antiepileptics to name a few. Birth control pills mess with periodontal tissues by exaggerating the body’s immune response to plaque, while calcium channel blockers and anti-epileptics cause gingival enlargement which makes plaque removal very difficult.

Periodontal inflammation caused by birth control pills tend to resolve once the individual stops the medication, while minor surgery may be needed to remove the enlarged tissue and restore the gums back to their normal form.

Malnutrition:

A diet that lacks in essential nutrients affects the health of the gums by compromising the body’s immune response. It can also worsen an existing periodontal problem. Vitamin C deficiency, otherwise known as scurvy, causes decreased collagen synthesis and poor wound healing.

In addition, studies have found that obesity increases one’s risk for periodontal disease. More can be learned about the association between these two in this article.

Endocrine Factors:

Endocrine conditions that could affect periodontal health are observed mostly in women. These are puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. All of them cause an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels.

Some studies also mention that these hormones can encourage growth of bacteria that causes periodontal disease. Each one of these four endocrine-related conditions manifests as different periodontal problems, and you can learn more about them in detail by reading this article.

Effect of Periodontal Disease in Men: An Introduction

How it Impacts their overall health

The incidence of periodontal disease tends to be higher in men than in women. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, more than 50% of men have some form of periodontal disease, while it is only about 38% for women. Such difference could be due to the fact that men tend to have poorer oral hygiene and/or are less likely to pay a visit to their dentist, be it for curative or preventive treatment. Or it could also be a result of habits like smoking which causes increased plaque and calcular deposits.

Achieving and maintaining periodontal health in men is of utmost importance, as it may influence their overall health. Listed and discussed below are some of health conditions associated with periodontal disease in men.

Cardiovascular Health:

Lots of studies have proven the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular health. Periodontal disease may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease, particularly of the condition called infective endocarditis. Both periodontal disease and endocarditis are chronic inflammatory conditions and it is suggested that inflammation is the connection between the two.

Since men are more prone to developing heart problems compared to women, maintaining oral health is a good way to reduce their risk.

Prostate Health:

Periodontal disease is also linked to prostate health by the increased levels of PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen. PSA is an enzyme normally synthesized and released in small amounts. The levels of this enzyme rise when the prostate becomes infected, inflamed, or cancerous.

According to research, men suffering from both periodontal disease and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) tend to have higher PSA levels compared to men who have either condition alone. This suggests the possible two-way connection between periodontal disease and prostate health.

Impotence:

Studies show that men with periodontal disease, particularly those between ages 30 to 70 are more susceptible to developing impotence. The mechanism, according to researchers, is that the chronic inflammation associated with periodontal disease results to damage of blood vessels all over the body, including those that supply the genitals.

Cancer:

Men who have or have had periodontal disease are said to be 14% more likely to develop cancer that those who don’t. The types of cancer associated with this oral health problem include pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and blood cancers. The association between periodontal disease and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was reported by a study conducted in Harvard School of Public Health. The study involved more than 50,000 male participants aged 40 to 75 years old.

The researchers did a 16-year follow-up from 1986 and 2002, and found that more than 200 of the participants developed pancreatic cancer. Thus, they came up with a conclusion that men who have had periodontal disease have more than 60% chance of developing pancreatic cancer compared to men who have no history of this oral health problem.

Take note, though, that while there is statistical association between the two diseases, the direct cause-effect relationship between them is yet to be established.

If you are dealing with periodontal disease and it seems to be affecting your health already, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist and physician about it. These health professionals shall help your with your health maladies, especially your dentist who can help detect periodontal disease and treat it before it can have the chance to affect other areas of your body. But it is also advised that you do your part in improving your oral health by practicing good oral hygiene.

Brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, flossing, and regular professional cleaning will help minimize your risk for periodontal disease.

Factors that Contribute to Periodontal Disease

It has long been established that plaque is the most important causative factor in the development of periodontal disease. But plaque alone won’t wreak so much havoc in your mouth if it doesn’t have the following factors to aid it in doing so.

Listed below are the three major factors that contribute to one’s susceptibility to periodontal disease, as well as to its progression.

Predisposing Factors:

The contributing factors for periodontal disease are either local or systemic. Predisposing factors are local factors found in the mouth. They pertain to physical structures or mechanical habitat that promote plaque accumulation and make plaque removal more difficult. These include calcular deposits, irregularities on tooth surface, tooth malposition, erupting third molars, oral appliances, and poorly-fabricated and faulty restorations. Learn more about these factors in this separate article.

Risk Factors:

Risk factors and modifying factors, on the other hand, are systemic factors. A systemic factor is something that can either be a medical problem or a behavioral condition. The difference between a risk factor and a modifying factor is that the former is something that increases susceptibility to disease; meaning, the disease isn’t there yet but the risk factor increases your chances of developing such. Risk factors include diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, and tobacco use.

Tobacco use has been associated with a myriad of health problems including heart disease, lung problems, and even cancer. According to studies, it can also increase one’s risk for periodontal disease. In fact, it is found to be among the most important factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. For more details about other risk factors, check out this other post.

Modifying Factors:

To reiterate, modifying factors are also systemic factors like risk factors. However, this factor does not work to increases one’s chances of developing periodontal disease. Rather, the disease has already occurred and the modifying factor alters the progression of the disease by modifying the body’s response to the disease itself or to the treatment. Their effect is mainly on the body’s immune response.

Modifying factors tend to exaggerate immune response to the disease-causing bacteria, at the same time making the body more resistant to the treatment being rendered. A modifying factor can also be a risk factor and vice-versa. The best examples of such are diabetes and tobacco use.

Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease because of their compromised immune system, which makes them susceptible to infections in general.

Periodontal disease is actually considered as one of the many complications of diabetes. In addition to increasing susceptibility, diabetes also promotes disease progression through poor blood circulation and tissue healing. The relationship between diabetes and periodontal is a two-way street, and more can be learned about such in this article.

Fortunately, the factors that cause and influence the progression of periodontal disease can be controlled. If there are multiple factors in one individual, then getting rid of even just one can dramatically reduce the chances of periodontal disease from developing or progressing.

And while it is your dentist’s job to identify these factors and manage them, you as a patient also have a role in ensuring that you’re taking good care of your oral health because it is also very important in counteracting the effects of the contributing factors discussed above

Self-Performed Methods of Dental Plaque Identification

Plaque pertains to the slimy, sticky substance that collects on the surface of the teeth. It is the major cause of both tooth decay and gum disease, thus making it extremely important to get rid of plaque deposits before they can wreak havoc on your mouth.

But the thing is, plaque can be pretty hard to detect with the naked eye, because it has the same color as your teeth. But worry not, for there are tools for dental plaque identification, which can help detect where plaque builds up and let you know how good you when it comes brushing and flossing your pearly whites.

Why Remove Plaque?

Plaque disclosing agents are often used by dentists to show their patients where and how much plaque has accumulated on their teeth.

Removing plaque deposits while they are still new and soft is recommended in order to prevent them from turning into hardened deposits called tartar or calculus, where plaque and bacteria can continue to thrive.

Tartar cannot be removed by simple brushing and flossing, but only through professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Methods of Plaque Disclosure:

Plaque Disclosing Tablets:

One method of plaque disclosure makes use of special disclosing tablets made up of red dye. This dye gets absorbed by plaque, thus staining it and making it much easier to detect. To use these tablets, get one tablet and chew it thoroughly. Swish the chewed tablet-saliva mixture onto your teeth for about 30 seconds. Spit it out, rinse off with water and then examine your teeth. You may use your bathroom mirror, or even a small mirror to get a closer look.

Red stains indicate plaque. These stains highlight the areas where you should improve your brushing and flossing.

Now, some individuals may frown upon the idea of bright red staining, not only on the teeth but on your gums, tongue, or lips as well. Take note that the staining is temporary and will be gone after a few hours.

Plaque Disclosing Solutions:

Plaque Disclosing Solutions work in pretty much the same way as disclosing tablets, only that they are in liquid form already. Like in the tablet form, you have to swish the solution around your mouth for about the same time. Then, you also have to spit it out and check your teeth afterwards.

Some disclosing solutions are available as two-toned agents, which help differentiate between old and new plaque deposits.

Plaque Disclosing Swabs:

These swabs are pre-saturated with a disclosing solution. They are used by dabbing the swab along the tooth surface to show the plaque deposits. Compared to disclosing solutions, there are more convenient, more easily controlled, and less messy.

Plaque Light:

Plaque light requires the use of a special fluorescent solution that you’ll swish around your mouth and then rinse off with water. To detect plaque, you will have to use an ultraviolet light. The light will help make plaque more visible by giving it bright yellow-orange color.

The main advantage of the plaque light and fluorescent solution combo is that it doesn’t produce any visible stains in your mouth.

After using any of the disclosing products brush your teeth after and be sure to improve your brushing on the areas where plaque accumulates the most. Brush as thoroughly as you can until there are no stains left.

If you wish to be sure about the efficiency of your oral hygiene, use a disclosing agent for as long as you wish until you see less and less plaque.

Plaque disclosing agents are particularly helpful for kids, orthodontic patients, and individuals prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

5 Biggest Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Do you find yourself wincing every time you eat your ice-cold treat? Or perhaps when you brush or floss your teeth?

You could be experiencing tooth sensitivity. You don’t have to worry, though, as there are lots of things you can do to lessen this discomfort.

Among them is knowing what the most common causes are, so you can avoid them and prevent tooth sensitivity from occurring in the first place.

Vigorous Toothbrushing

Toothbrushing is good for your oral health, but doing it with too much gusto can actually be harmful to your teeth.

Vigorous brushing can wear down the tooth enamel and expose the dentin underneath it. The dentin consists of small tubules that connect directly to the pulp, which contains nerves.

When these tubules are exposed to extreme heat or cold, the nerves are stimulated resulting to tooth sensitivity. To avoid thinning out your enamel, brush more gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can also wear down the tooth enamel just like vigorous brushing does.

The only difference between the two is that acids cause chemical dissolution, while brushing causes mechanical wearing.

You don’t have to stay away from these foods. Instead, you can just rinse your mouth with water right after eating any acidic food to wash away the acids and limit their contact with your teeth. And be sure to wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

The dissolution caused by the acid plus the mechanical action of your brush will only make the problem even worse.

Bruxism

Again, even though the enamel is the hardest and strongest substance in the body, it can easily be worn down by various mechanical factors.

One is vigorous brushing, and another is by bruxism or tooth grinding. It causes sensitivity in the same way as the first two.

To solve this oral habit, consult your dentist for recommendations and fabrication of a protective mouth-guard that you can use at night.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, caused by excessive accumulation of plaque on tooth surface, lead to gum recession and exposure of the tooth roots.

Unlike your tooth crown which has hard, strong enamel to protect it, the cementum covering the tooth root is softer and therefore more prone to dissolution and mechanical wear.

In such case, your dentist will manage the underlying problem first then prescribe something that will help seal your teeth.

Dental Treatment

It is not uncommon to experience some sensitivity after undergoing certain dental procedures. These include professional cleaning, placement of restorations, root canal treatment, or even extraction.

The sensitivity induced by these procedures can last for a couple of days and should not be a cause of concern because it will go away on its own.

However, if the symptom persists and/or gets worse, contact your dentist immediately. Only your dentist will know what to do and give the best advice for your particular situation.

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5 Symptoms That Should Make You Run to Your San Diego Dentist

When was the last time you have been to the dentist?

The recommended frequency of dental visits should be once every six months, but this is hard to achieve for many of us.

Sometimes, we get too busy and preoccupied with day-to-day life and a visit to our San Diego dentist takes a backseat, all too often forgotten.

For some of us, a visit to the dentist is as scary today as when we first went as kids.

But there just are some dental issues that absolutely can’t be avoided and that require immediate attention from your dentist.

Normally it’s a nasty toothache, but did you know that there are a lot of other symptoms that should be a cause of concern?

You’ll be surprised at how normal these ‘little symptoms’ seem and at how important it is to have them checked by our San Diego dentist.

When to Visit Your San Diego Dentist:

Bad Breath and Unusual Taste in The Mouth:

There are two kinds of bad breath: the normal kind and the recurring kind, the latter of which should be a cause of concern.

If you have a sudden change in the smell and taste of your mouth, and it has nothing to do with what you ate (or drank, or smoked), then you must visit your dentist. It could be a sign of gum disease, cavities, or even GERD.

Mouth Sores That Do Not Seem to Heal:

Mouth sores are common. They come and go, especially when your body is trying to adjust to natural changes in chemical composition or even changes in the weather.

Normally, mouth sores should heal within two weeks; if they linger longer than that, you should definitely go see your San Diego dentist.

Mouth sores are one of the first signs of mouth cancer, but it should appear along with other symptoms.

Visiting the dentist is only a safety barrier, just to rule out anything serious.

Pain, Swelling, and Bleeding in the Gums:

Any form of pain or swelling is an indication that something is wrong.

It could mean a gum infection, cavities, or gum disease.

The first sign of tenderness or swelling, accompanied by some discoloration in that specific gum area, should send you to your dentist right away. Gum problems, when neglected, could cause tooth loss.

Teeth Sensitivity:

Teeth sensitivity is characterized by a sudden jolt of pain when eating/drinking hot, cold, or sour food/drinks.

It is always an indication of nerve damage and should be seen by your dentist immediately.

Chronic Dryness of Mouth:

The saliva in the mouth is there for a reason, one being that it contains a lot of antiseptic properties that help maintain the mouth’s bacterial and chemical equilibrium.

If you experience dry mouth too frequently and too long at a time, you should visit your San Diego dentist >ASAP. It could be a sign of an underlying condition.

For your San Diego dentist needs, there’s always Irresistible Smiles. Contact us today at (858) 755-8993 to set up an appointment!

Everything You Need to Know About Porcelain Veneers

There are many uses for porcelain veneers. Sometimes, they are quicker, less painful, and probably much less expensive than a teeth whitening procedure.

Other times, they are a perfect way to hide imperfections like a mismatched color filling in the front teeth.

They also are a great way to mask chips and massive gaps in the front teeth. Compared to getting crowns, veneers are less invasive.

If you’re considering getting porcelain veneers, but you are not quite certain about whether to get them or not, here’s a quick porcelain veneers guide:

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are basically teeth cover-ups, custom-fitted to your teeth.

They are thin shells of special materials bonded to your teeth using special dental cement. Veneers are made of either of these materials:

a) Composite resin material
b) Porcelain

How Are Veneers Placed?

Before the doctor decides that you are a good candidate for dental veneers, he/she checks mainly two things:

1) Your dental problem that needs veneers, and
2) The overall condition of your teeth,

If you have any of the following conditions or in any of these situations, veneers may not be good for you:

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease.

Teeth weakened by decay and gum disease could make you ineligible for veneers.

If your gum problems and tooth decay are mild and curable, the dentist will provide treatment for these problems before proceeding with the veneer procedure.

In other cases where there is not much enamel left in the teeth or much of the teeth’s structure is compromised by too many fillers, veneers are definitely out of the question.

Severely Crooked or Misaligned Teeth.

Unless the tooth position is corrected, it is virtually impossible to attach the ceramic or porcelain veneers to the teeth.

Habitual Clenching and Grinding.

People who have a problem with grinding and/or clenching their teeth need to have this problem fixed or relieved (with mouth guards, like Irresistible Smiles’ Battleguard) before veneers are placed. Otherwise, the clenching may cause cracks and damage to the veneers.

When these problems are corrected or solved and are completely out of the way, the veneer placement process may commence.

Composite resin veneers can be created and attached all in a single session, but porcelain veneers may need about two or three sessions to be completed.

The dentist will remove about a one-half of a millimeter from the tooth by buffing, local anesthesia will also be administered.

With composite veneers, the resin will be fitted right after buffing. With the ceramic (porcelain) kind, the dentist will have to make a mold from the teeth.

This mold will then be sent to the laboratory for fitting. This usually takes one to two days before the veneers get back to the dentist’s clinic.

At Irresistible Smiles, our in-house laboratory ensures that the whole process is completed more quickly.

It should not take more than two visits to complete; in some cases, it may even be sooner than that.

After fitting, shade matching will have to be done to make sure that the veneer does not look too artificial.

It is essential to achieve the right shade of composite or porcelain veneer as it is irreversible.

When the right shade is achieved, the teeth are chemically treated to prepare them for bonding. The right bonding cement shade will be picked and then the veneers are attached.

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

Porcelain and composite veneers vary in cost. To learn more about how much they cost, and for more information about veneers and other options, visit Irresistible Smiles in Chula Vista and San Diego today! Book a consultation here.