The unexpected dangers of gum disease

December 18, 2019by aestheticsmiles0

Gum disease is common and unpleasant, but, according to a growing body of evidence, it could also play a role in a surprising range of seemingly unrelated health problems. Cleaning your teeth may be even more important than you thought. Plaque — a sticky substance that contains bacteria — builds up on teeth. If it is not brushed away, the bacteria can irritate the gums.

The gums may then become swollen, sore, or infected; this is referred to as gingivitis. In general, gum disease can be treated or prevented by maintaining a good oral health regime. However, if it is left to develop, it can result in periodontitis, which weakens the supporting structures of the teeth.

Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, is widespread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of adults in the United States have some degree of gum disease.

The mechanisms behind periodontal disease are relatively well-understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. In this Spotlight, we will cover some of the surprising links between gum disease and disparate health issues.

Gums and the brain

Although spatially the gums are near the brain, one wouldn’t normally associate dental complaints with neurological conditions.

However, some studies have found a link between periodontal disease and tooth loss and cognitive function. One study looking at cognitive performance followed 597 men for up to 32 years. The authors conclude:

Risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. Periodontal disease and caries, major reasons for tooth loss, are also related to cognitive decline.

Researchers have also linked periodontal disease with an increased buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain — the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Other experiments have produced evidence that one type of bacteria commonly found in cases of periodontitis — Porphyromonas gingivalis — can be found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s.

Following on from that discovery, in a more recent study, researchers showed that P. gingivalis infection boosts the production of beta-amyloid in the brain.

Periodontal disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk.

In this study, the researchers paid particular attention to an enzyme produced by P. gingivalis called gingipain. They found that this protease was toxic to tau, another protein that plays a pivotal role in Alzheimer’s.

It is worth noting that other researchers have concluded that beta-amyloid is produced in response to a pathogen. The way we view Alzheimer’s is slowly changing.

In the future, scientists hope that targeting gingipain enzymes might help stop neurodegeneration in some people with Alzheimer’s disease. They have already designed a gingipain inhibitor, which they are testing in humans.

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70 reviews on
Ja'Rod Morris
Ja'Rod Morris
2022-06-18
As someone who has struggled with juvenile periodontitis since the age of 16, I've worked with dentists around the world, and it was refreshing to find a dentist that I was able to work with directly from beginning to end. Dr. Arora was highly professional, thoughtful, and empathetic throughout the process. I had already started the process and had implants in place, and she helped me with six abutments and a total of 26 crowns. I reached out a few weeks before my trip, and she responded immediately. She took the time to talk through my history, and I could speak with her directly, not one of her assistants. She was very transparent and empathetic to my situation. She addressed my concerns about fees and followed through by not making it about money right when I showed up at her office. She paid attention to every detail and was thorough and getting the job done, and I would recommend her to anyone looking to get some solid work done, whether it be implants or cosmetic work.
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Shaheena Attarwala
Shaheena Attarwala
2022-06-18
Visited for dental facial pain issue, this was a second opinion i needed but the doctor was giving ambiguous answers & was not open to explaining in detail what would be best treatment. Again the answers were confusing and doc was not sure if the treatment would work or not. After having consulted a few docs before i was certain that this condition is not a rare one and facial pain is very common today. Again i was to visit doctor urmi but another dentist in her place consulted me which was surprising as i had no prior knowledge of this. I would appreciate if the doctor showed more enpathy towards the patient.
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Ridham Desai
Ridham Desai
2022-05-29
Excellent treatment. Professional. Safe. Very good facilities.
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Daman Singh
Daman Singh
2022-05-23
Dr Ritika, you play an essential part in the up keep of the pearly whites; thereby completing and complimenting the smile. A big thank you full of satisfaction to you and your team.
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Sandeep Mehra
Sandeep Mehra
2022-05-20
Visited for dental implants Was looking for a good dental clinic in mumbai , found Dr Ritika online and was quite impressed with her credentials and the reviews on google I was struggling with a old broken bridge with missing teeth . On Consultation with Dr Ritika suggested me immediate dental implants. I had 3 teeth extracted and 3 dental implants place on the same day . The procedure was painless though there was some nagging discomfort for a few days later which is quite normal when you have so much dental work done in one sitting After 4 months the dental implants were restored with 4 ceramic crowns. I happy to be back to enjoying my food. Modern clinic , very professional , affordable and the overall experience at Aesthetic smiles dental clinic is good especially for nervous patients like me who tend to neglect dental treatment Highly recommended
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Mohsin Shaikh
Mohsin Shaikh
2022-05-17
Last year in the month of December I have visited her and she advised me to remove my tooth and then do an implant and I had the most traumatic dental extraction experience, still I kept myself calm thinking that she is well known and experienced doctor and it’s been 5 to 6 months she did not followed up and avoid to reply to my text about the implant, Today i have visited another dentist to my wildest dream, I came to know that she has destroyed my entire jaw bone in the extraction process and no implant is possible now. It’s all big name and low fame, terrible diagnosis and treatment. Please be careful.
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Kevin Lawler
Kevin Lawler
2022-05-01
Listens to client and works out an appropriate plan
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Sean Verma
Sean Verma
2022-04-22
*Very hygienic *Professional *Honest *She will tell you that you do not need unnecessary treatments *Very skilled *Efficient We will be back to treat with Dr. Arora
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Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith
2022-03-03
I am from the US and was living in Africa when I needed some implants done. My global travel service recommended Dr. Ritika and my experience with her was fantastic! After I moved back to the States, I returned to India specifically to have her do more dental work for me. if not for Covid, I would return to India to finish the implant work she started. Both my dentist and oral surgeon here have commented on the high quality of work I received from her. Her clinic is exceptionally clean and her staff are very nice. Dr. Ritika was also very attentive to my travel needs and even sent cars to pick me up for my appointments. Plus, It costs me less to take a 2-week vacation AND get multiple implants than to get just 1 implant on the US! I highly recommend her, and look forward to when I can go back to visit enchanting India.
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sanjana dsouza
sanjana dsouza
2021-10-02
Dr Rithika and Kanchan is really great and patient centric.one of the best doctor I have met.highly recommended
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