Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The role of bacteria in periodontal disease

Healthy gums are coral pink with no bleeding, no inflammation, and a pocket depth reading of only 3 mm or less all the way around each individual tooth. Gingivitis is when your gums appear red, swollen and bleed, but typically this is due to a lack in homecare (brushing/flossing), or hormone involvement such as pregnancy. Gingivitis is the first stage of infection, but it can be reversed by maintaining regular cleanings by your dentist, goodhomecare, and other products, such as mouthwashes to decrease microbe growth.

Periodontal disease happens when gingivitis progresses. Symptoms include swollen, red, puss, bleeding or pocket depth readings greater than 4 mm. If home care is not adequate then plaque will remain on teeth and if left long enough it will calcify and turn into calculus (Also known as tartar). These bacteria continue to hibernate below the gum line in the “natural pocket” space. The bacteria then continue to multiply and can be destructive to the Periodontal ligaments, causing the gums to recede, and then the supporting structure of bone is destroyed. Having periodontal disease also means having a constant low grade infection in the body. Dental research is on the rise about its affects to your overall health.

Online research shows there are many types of microbes living in your mouth with bacteria being the most abundant. There are over 100 million in every milliliter of saliva from more than 600 different species. Not all bacteria in the mouth are harmful but most are killed by either stomach or saliva enzymes. However, certain bacteria are responsible for periodontal disease and tooth decay. Some examples of the bacteria found in mouth are: Streptococcus Mutans, which is known to digest sugars and starches in foods and produce acids which dissolve tooth enamel. This is a gram positive bacterium that grows under anaerobe, and aerobe conditions, and is part of the normal flora of the mouth. S.mutans is one bacterium that has receptors that aids in adhesion to teeth. This bacterium sits on teeth and causes tooth decay. Another different type of bacteria that is associated with periodontal disease is Porphyromonas gingivalis. P. Gingivalis is a rod shaped gram negative anaerobe found in periodontal lesions and is associated with adult periodontal diseases such as gingivitis, periodontal infections and mouth abscesses.

According to American Academy of periodontology research, there is an association between periodontal disease and chronic inflammatory conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. Having a healthy mouth and managing inflammation and bacteria will not only help reduce periodontal disease but help manage overall health. Periodontal disease and bacterial decay can be easily prevented with good daily oral hygiene and regular visits with the dentist. Dentists have products such as mouthwashes, chewing gums, sprays and toothpastes that can regulate PH, and control harmful bacteria from sticking to your teeth and gums,therefore causing damage.

References used:

Diagram used:

No comments:

Post a Comment