“The mouth is a mirror, it reflects general health or disease”
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone. An estimated 80% of American adults currently have some form of gum disease, ranging from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. Not only is gum disease a threat to your oral health that can lead to tooth loss, but research also points to health effects of periodontal disease that go well beyond your mouth.
The Correlation Between Misaligned Teeth and Periodontal Disease.
Did you know that a major cause of periodontal disease is poorly aligned teeth? This is because the bacteria living in the gums around crowded teeth are much more toxic and destructive than the normal bacteria found in healthy mouths! In fact, the misalignment that leads to periodontal disease continues to remain one of the most overlooked risk factors.
Research has shown that mouth infections and inflammation caused by periodontal disease can play havoc throughout the body. There is a proven association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as:
People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk. (1)
Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.
- Respiratory Infection:
Bacteria in your mouth can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with gum disease.
- Severe Osteopenia:
Osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone supporting the teeth may be decreased.
- Pre-term or Low Birthweight Babies:
Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.
Treatment is Key
If your teeth are misaligned, it could be more than a cosmetic issue. Undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth may be a critical part of ensuring your overall health. Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that allows doctors to straighten teeth using a series of clear, removable, nearly invisible, plastic appliances called aligners. Since Invisalign is removable, you can brush and floss normally, which helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. In fact, clinical studies have shown that gingival health may improve with the use of Invisalign during orthodontic treatment. (2)
Straighter teeth are Healthier Teeth
Straight teeth are healthier teeth and can lead to:
Healthier Gums: Properly positioned teeth are easier to brush and floss than teeth that are crowded, crooked, or spaced too far apart. Properly aligned teeth can help gums “fit” tighter around them, which may lead to better periodontal health. (3)
Easier Cleanings: With maintenance of good oral hygiene, the chances of having plaque retention, tooth decay, and periodontal disease can be reduced. If your teeth are misaligned, consider Invisalign to straighten your teeth and help prevent periodontal disease—all without the hassle of brackets and wires.
- Journal of Periodontology, November 1999, Vol. 70, No. 11, Pages 1313-1321. Heightened Gingival Inflammation and Attachment Loss in Type 2 Diabetics with Hyperlipidemia. Christopher W. Cutler, MD, Robert L. Machen, Ravi Jotwani, Anthony M. Iacopino.
- Presented at the AADR in San Antonio, Effect of Invisalign® Aligners on Periodontal Tissues, Taylor, MG; McGorray, SP; Durrett, S; Pavlow, S; Downey, N; Lenk, M; Oxford, E; Dolce, C; Wheeler, TT.
- Ong et al., 1998 Boyd and Baumrind. 1992. Zachrisson and Zachrisson, 1972