Gum disease having devastating impact on general health

A new report has revealed that the number of people affected by tooth decay and gum disease is having a widespread and devastating impact not only on patients mouths but also on their general health and wellbeing, particularly in the older population.

 

The findings were announced at the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), and published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

 

Left untreated, gum disease causes tooth loss and in its more severe forms, periodontitis which is independently associated with increased mortality rates due to a higher risk of atherogenic cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and related complications.

 

Professor Nicola West, Head of Restorative Dentistry and Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at Bristol Dental School and Hospital, who compiled the consensus findings, said: "The burden of these diseases is high and is increasing as the population ages.

 

“Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to nutritional compromise and negative impact on self-esteem and quality of life. These findings help underline to dental professionals and the public the importance of oral health and that it is often an indicator of general health issues."

 

The study' recommendations include:

  • Dental professionals should be consulted regularly to prevent and treat caries and periodontal diseases effectively.
  • Bleeding gums are not normal. Dental professionals should be consulted immediately.
  • Periodontal disease should be seen as an indicator of general health issues. 
  • Reducing sugar and starch intake levels and frequency is important in preventing periodontal disease and caries. Intake should be limited to mealtimes.
  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is essential and can also be supplemented with additional effective agents that reduce plaque, such as those found in mouthwash and toothpastes.

12 April 2018.