Gum Disease & the Oral-Systemic Link: What Your Patients Should Know
Most patients would agree with you that good oral health is a worthy goal in and of itself. But what many of them may not know is that the benefits of taking care of their teeth and gums extends well beyond the oral cavity. This notion is not new—in fact, its origins can be traced to the late 19th century when researchers first posited that bacteria in the mouth could cause health problems throughout the body. Modern scientific research continues to support this oral-systemic connection with mounting evidence that maintaining a healthy mouth is essential to overall health.
Making the Connection
Our present understanding of the oral-systemic connection is grounded in a 2000 report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General. In this report, the Surgeon General formally acknowledged the association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm births and low birthweight. Though the document concluded that “oral health is integral to general health,” it stated that it was unclear whether oral diseases like periodontitis explicitly cause systemic issues and, if so, how exactly this occurs. In 2006, a series of articles published by the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) supported the Surgeon General’s findings while adding pneumonia to the list of illnesses linked to oral health. Since these publications, further studies have concluded that conditions as varied as respiratory disease, colorectal cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease may have roots in the oral condition.
Experts hypothesize that two mechanisms may explain the oral-systemic connection. One is that chronic inflammation in the oral cavity caused by gum disease may increase inflammatory markers in the bloodstream, adding to the body’s overall inflammatory response or general burden of disease. Alternatively, disease-causing bacteria living in the mouth could break free of their biofilm clusters and travel through the bloodstream. This phenomenon, known as bacteremia, enables infectious pathogens to “seed” distant sites within the body and spur systemic illness.
The Case for Treatment
Regardless of the mechanism of transmission, it’s important for patients to understand that good oral health can benefit their overall health. And that leads to discussion of tools like Perio Trays® by Perio Protect®, which can help to make that goal more attainable than ever. Designed for easy at-home care between office visits, Perio Trays provide patients with a safe, strong, and sustainable way to take control of their oral health while simultaneously reducing the risk of disease elsewhere in the body.
The Perio Protect Method® works by delivering a 1.7% concentration of bacteria-fighting hydrogen peroxide directly into periodontal pockets as deep as 9mm. In as little as 10 minutes, the gel gently debrides and cleans the affected area of disease-causing bacteria. This process also generates a localized, oxygen-rich environment, modifying the ecology below the gums to promote a healthy bacterial balance and host healing.
Studies show that the Perio Protect Method reduces the presence of the most damaging oral pathogens by up to 90%, and patients who use Perio Trays can expect a range of benefits including less bleeding upon probing, reduced pocket depth, whiter teeth, and fresher breath. The Perio Protect Method offers patients an easy-to-use, exceptionally effective defense against oral and systemic disease, all while minimizing or eliminating the need for invasive therapies and potentially harmful antibiotics.
To learn more about the Perio Protect Method and how it can help your patients achieve better oral and overall health, visit Perio Protect’s website.