If you are having problems conceiving, suffer from cardiovascular disease or have osteopenia, you may be surprised to know that the problem may be related to periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases are often thought of as a slightly unpleasant and rather smelly side effect of ageing, but there is a lot more to it than that. Periodontal diseases also affect children, adolescents and adults of child bearing age and the effects go much further than a bit of bad breath. As many as 50% of the population in the developed world are believed to suffer from some form of periodontal problem.
What are the signs of Periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease usually starts off as simple inflammation in the gums (gingivitis) then progresses to more destructive chronic and aggressive periodontitis and can eventually lead to the loss of teeth. The early signs of the disease are often ignored because they seem unimportant however in some cases the loss of alveolar bone could already have started. Symptoms such as bleeding, swelling or receding gums and bad breath or a metallic taste in the mouth are clear signs that a visit to the dentist is in order - especially in children and adolescents.
What causes Periodontal disease?
Poor oral hygiene definitely contributes to the development of periodontal disease but other factors such as poor nutrition, alcohol, stress and smoking can make periodontal disease more likely.
Evidence other diseases are associated with Periodontal disease
Incredibly, studies have also shown that periodontal disease may be associated with a higher risk of heart attack and similar patterns of bacteria have been found in arterial plaques and dental plaques. Women of child bearing age with periodontal disease take longer to conceive, have an increased risk of pre-eclampsia and a new study published this month showed that the bacteria causing periodontal disease is present in the genital tract of women who suffer from recurrent miscarriages. A further study published this month in the medical journal Climacteric has also associated periodontal disease with osteoporosis, so post-menopausal women who are showing early signs of osteoporosis should visit the dentist and take preventative measures. All of this new evidence suggests that periodontal disease is not just a bit of bad breath, it has repercussions on many systems of the body and it is important to deal with it early.
What treatments are there for Periodontal disease?
Here we report on three studies that show that an anti-inflammatory flavonoid, vitamin C and a probiotic have great potential as natural treatments for periodontal disease.
The flavonol Fisetin attracts a lot of interest in the natural medicine field for its anti-ageing, anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity. Fisetin is also one of the phytochemicals with a well researched list of antioxidant effects. These effects are believed to be due to its molecular structure which enable it to modulate protein and lipid kinase pathways as well as increase the expression of genes involved in antioxidant activity. A new study published this month shows that Fisetin acts on the gingival cells of the gum through different pathways that reduce secretion of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 but manages to save the gingival cells by not affecting their viability.
The chronic inflammation in the mouth in periodontal disease gradually destroys the tissues and the process is accelerated by oxidative stress. A study has shown that oxidative stress using hydrogen peroxide leads to periodontal ligament cell death but when vitamin C is given at the same time there is greater survival of the cells. Vitamin C could be a good treatment for periodontal disease.
Probiotics - Lactobacilli
Protection of the gingival fibroblasts is the key to treatments for periodontal disease. Several types of 'bad' bacteria are associated with periodontal disease but Porphyromonas gingivalis is most often cited as the dominant guilty party. As with all balances of bacteria in and on the body, an excess of unhelpful bacteria is at the expense of the helpful ones. A study published this month showed that two different strains of Lactobacilli and two different strains of Bifidobacterium had a protective effect against hydrogen peroxide damage on gingival fibroblasts. Probiotics are a good natural therapy for periodontal disease.
Good oral health is important not only for preventing tooth loss. The mouth is the gateway to good health throughout the body.
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Treatment & Therapy References
1. Pereira et al. Association between periodontal changes and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Climacteric Sep 2014.
2. Parkar et al.Periodontitis as risk factor for acute myocardial infarction: A case control study. Heart Views Jan 2013.
3. Serra E Silva Filho et al. Microbial diversity similarities in pockets and atheromatous plaques of cardiovascular patients. PLoS One. Oct 2014.
4. Nwhator S et al. Could Periodontitis affect time to conception? Ann Med Sci Res Sep 2014.
6. Huang et al. Maternal periodontal disease and risk of preeclampsia: A meta-analysis. J. Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. Oct 2014. 2014 Oct
7. Gutierrex-Venegas et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of fisetin in human gingival fibroblasts treated with lipopolysaccharide. J Asia Nat Prod Res. Oct 2014.