Desperately Seeking a Periodontal Cure

Finding a periodontal cure can be absolutely maddening. Those who suffer from periodontitis, the condition previously known as Pyorrhea alveolaris, long more than ever for a solution to this group of inflammatory diseases, which affect the tissues that surround and support the teeth.

Any periodontal cure will have to target inflammation of the periodontium, one of the four tissues that support the teeth in the mouth:

  • The gum tissue, or gingival
  • The outer layer of the roots of the teeth, or cementum
  • The sockets into which teeth are anchored, or alveolar bone
  • The tissue fibers that connect the cementum and the gingiva to the alveolar bone, known as the periodontal ligaments

Also called gum disease, periodontal disease is a persistent bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest form of the illness, and it causes the gums to go red, puff up and lose blood easily.

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. More than one in three people over age 30 have periodontitis. The disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage.

Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Inflamed or sensitive gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A variation in the bite, or tooth drifting/migration
  • Visible pus between teeth and gums under compression
  • Change in the fit of dentures
  • Receding gum line which has pulled away from the teeth

Stress Can Add to Gum Disease

A new study printed in the Journal of Periodontology warns that caregivers of people under mental or physical stress, and those with the conditions themselves, should not neglect their oral health.

The results from the study hint that being a caregiver to relatives with dementia, hypercortisolemia, or nervous tension was linked with high plaque levels and increased gingival bleeding in adults aged 50 years and older.

Fifty-seven percent of the studies included in the review showed a positive relationship between periodontal diseases and psychological factors, a factor that any periodontal cure would have to address.

The hormone cortisol may be a factor in the probable link between periodontal disease and stress, speculates study author Daiane Peruzzo of the State University of Campinas in Piracicaba, Brazil.

President of the American Academy of Periodontology, Preston D. Miller, explained that people with elevated stress levels may be less conscientious about oral hygiene and may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol or drugs.