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                                                                         Keep Your Smile Healthy
Medical Health and Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem

Periodontal disease is no longer thought of as just a dental problem. Research is finding many correlations between periodontal infection and serious medical problems.

Throughout your life your overall health may change and therefore your oral care needs may change. Healthy gums helps you to a healthier body.

When periodontal infection gets into the bone around your teeth, the infection releases bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream leading to serious health risks.

While the exact mechanisms for their influence are unclear, there are many fascinating theories. Below are some of the possible explanations.

If you think you have periodontal disease, you may want to see a periodontist like Dr. Hoffmeyer, who is a specialist with extra skills and training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease.

Systemic Diseases

Diabetes and other medical diseases can lower the body's resistance to infection and inflammation by periodontal bacteria.


Medications that can affect the gums:

  • Heart medicines (calcium channel blockers)

  • Anti-seizure medications (epileptic seizures)

  • Organ transplant medications

  • Bisphosphonates (cancer)

  • Antidepressants

  • Oral contraceptives

  • Hormones

  • Asthma spray

Some drugs reduce the flow of saliva, causing dry mouth, red tissue, increased plaque and calculus, bleeding gums, bad breath and increased risk of periodontal problems. Other drugs cause enlarged gum tissue.

dry mouth

  • Keep your mouth moist and stimulate saliva flow by often sipping cool water.

  • Allow ice chips to melt in your mouth

  • Chew sugarless gum or candy

  • Lubricate you lips with lip balm

  • Use saliva substitute or medication that may stimulate saliva

  • Use humidifier at home to reduce nighttime oral dryness

  • Avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol and acidic, carbonated or caffeinated beverages (alcohol, coffee) because these chemicals will dry out your mouth.

  • Dr. Hoffmeyer may recommend a home use fluoride toothpaste and may give you a topical fluoride treatment during your dental visit.

Heart Disease • Heart Attack Stroke Alzheimer’s

Risks for heart disease include smoking, obesity / overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

It is known that periodontal disease, a bacterial infection, may contribute to infective endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart and heart valves) in risk patients (rheumatic fever, mitral valve prolapse, heart murmur). These patients may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Please consult with your cardiologist.

Recent research has shown that periodontal bacteria enter the blood stream and may attach to fatty plaques in arteries (heart blood vessels). A build-up of fatty proteins and thickening of the coronary artery walls contributes to clot formation, obstruction of normal blood flow, restriction of nutrients and oxygen to the heart leading to heart attack.

Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are 2 times more likely (compared to people with no periodontal disease) to suffer a fatal heart attack and 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke. A study of over 800 stroke victims indicates that advanced gum disease can increase the risk of stroke by over 50% in adults aged 25-54.

Respiratory Disease

Periodontal bacteria have been found in the lungs of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is believed that people can aspirate the bacteria from the mouth into the lungs, thereby contributing to the development of respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

People affected with this disease are 2 times more likely to have periodontal disease with bone loss and double as many missing teeth. The damage is caused b immune system and chronic inflammation.

Uremia Liver cirrhosis Anemia

These conditions may affect your periodontal disease


Research shows evidence, that genes play a major role in the onset and severity of periodontal diseases.

A genetic marker in European heritage puts 30% of Europeans at higher risk of periodontal disease. These have a 5 times higher risk of periodontal disease.

Dr. Hoffmeyer can test you for your genetic links (U.S.A.).

If you are susceptible to periodontal diseases, your treatment will consist of closer and more intensive preventive measures.

Your Bacteria Can Be Transmitted through Saliva

Research using DNA testing has found that periodontal bacteria can be transmitted through saliva from parent to child and spouse to spouse.  

General immunity

Periodontal disease is a low grade chronic infection. Any time a person has an infection, one will be more susceptible to other infections because the body’s energy is being used to fight the basic infection.


Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.


  • Herpes
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV / Aids


Fungal disease can manifest itself on gum and oral soft tissue. Is usually seen in children and under dentures.


  • A diet low in important nutrients can make it harder for the body to fight off infection

  • Calcium (milk) – causes stronger teeth during development and stronger bone structure

  • Vitamin C – a natural balance participates in keeping gums healthy

  • Vitamin B - a natural balance participates in immune system

  • Water – keeps gums moist and washes away food.

  • Sugar - can together with inadequate oral hygiene increase the amount of cavities.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal changes can affect the blood supply to the gums, and response to irritants from plaque may be exaggerated. Female hormones can make the gum tissue more sensitive to periodontal disease.
Remember it is the plaque, not fluctuating hormone levels, that is the major cause of periodontal disease.

Healthy gums Gingivitis - inflamed gums  


Chronic gingivitis: Is often seen in adolescents due to improper oral hygiene.

Local Aggressive Periodontitis: Can affect young healthy people and is mainly seen on first molars (chewing teeth) and incisors (upper front teeth). The bone loss can be rapid and is characterized by very little dental plaque or calculus.

Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis: This is like the aggressive form, but involves the entire mouth and has heavy accumulation of plaque and calculus with inflamed gums and possible tooth loss.

Periodontitis associated with systemic diseases include: Type 1 diabetes, Down’s syndrome and Papillon-Lefevre syndrome.

Orthodontics: can cause difficulty in performing optimal hygiene around brackets.
Talk to Dr. Hoffmeyer about an oral irrigator.

Medications and Mouth breathing: can cause dry mouth and swollen gums.

Teeth grinding: can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, can cause cracked or chipped teeth. A custom-fitted mouth guard can protect the teeth at night

Saliva: Research suggests that periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means that the common contact of saliva in families may put children and couples at risk for contracting periodontal diseases of another family member.

Remember early diagnosis ensures greater chance for successful treatment.

A child should visit the dentist when the first tooth erupts. Regular check-ups will monitor oral hygiene, emphasize preventive care and establish confidence to the dental office environment. This is a gift to a child and adolescent towards achieving a healthy smile, confidence and self-esteem.

Help your child achieve clean teeth and gums. Use a soft toothbrush and floss to establish the habit at a young age. Check your child’s mouth for any signs of bleeding, puffiness, redness, recession (gums pulling back) and bad breath. Reward your child’ good oral hygiene habits with “a visit from the tooth fairy”.


The production of sex hormones (progesterone and estrogen) in females may cause an increase in gum redness, sensitivity and irritation.

Menstruation Monthly cycle

The production of sex hormones may cause gum bleeding, redness, swelling, burning sensation or sores on the inside of the lip and cheek and swollen salivary glands. This occurs in the days before your period begins and goes away once your period starts.

Birth Control Pills Oral contraceptives

These synthetic hormones increase the level of progesterone in your system and may cause gums to swell, bleed. Antibiotics given in periodontal treatment can lessen the effect of oral contraceptives.

Infertility treatment

Researchers have found that women undergoing infertility treatment and who are subjected to ovulation induction for more than 3 menstrual cycles had higher levels of gingival inflammation and bleeding. More studies are needed to determine if periodontal health affects infertility treatment.


May cause “ pregnancy gingivitis”, beginning in the 2nd-3rd month increasing in severity through the 8th month.

In some cases, the gums can react strongly to local irritants and form a large lump in the gum, called pregnancy tumors or pyogenic granulomas.
These occur mainly during second trimester, they occur between the teeth, bleed easily and are related to excess plaque formation.
They are not cancerous, are usually painless and easily removed be the periodontist.

Pregnant women with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have a premature delivery.

Pre-Term Child birth Premature child birth

Risk factors for premature birth are smoking, alcohol use, drug use and infections.

Studies have shown that any infection, including periodontal infection during pregnancy, may lead to a 7 times higher risk for delivering a preterm, low birth-weight baby.
It is believed that periodontal disease infection releases toxins that reach the placenta and disrupt fetal development. The oral infection also leads to accelerated production of hormones and a labor-inducing chemical (prostaglandin) that triggers premature delivery.

It has also been shown that periodontal inflammation may play a role in developing pre-eclampsia, a potentially deadly condition that affects approximately 5% of U.S. pregnancies.

Menopause Post-menopause

You may experience discomfort in your mouth, including dryness, pain, burning sensations, mouth sores, altered taste sensation, receding gums and greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods. These changes are attributed to hormonal reduction.

Menopausal gingivo-stomatitis is a condition with dry or shiny gums, from pale to deep red in color, that bleed easily.

Hormone replacement therapy (Estrogen supplements) and/or saliva substitutes may help to relieve these symptoms.


Low or decreasing bone mass with increased risk for bone fractures.
Periodontal diseases can lead to loss of bone that supports your teeth, which can lead to tooth loss.
The association between osteoporosis and periodontal diseases has been difficult to prove because of many similar associated factors like smoking, age, medication and systemic diseases.

clenching or grinding teeth

These habits can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could increase the rate at which the gum and bone is destroyed.

plaque traps

Chipped fillings or worn-out bridges can accumulate plaque and make it difficult to brush and floss effectively.

Allergies to Medications

If you have ever had an allergic or unpleasant reaction to any medication, including dental anesthetics, please let Dr Hoffmeyer know of the name of the medication. There are alternate drugs that can be prescribed in case of allergies to oral antibiotics or analgesics (pain relievers).

Allergies to Materials

Please notify Dr. Hoffmeyer prior to treatment so we can provide a comfortable environment for you.
If you are allergic to Latex she will use Nitrile gloves instead.
If you are sensitive to mercury, mercury-free fillings are used during surgery.
If you are allergic to Chlorhexidine this item will not be used.

Methamphetamine Meth Speed Ice Chalk Crank Fire Glass Crystal

This is an addictive drug that causes high levels of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin) to stimulate the brain cells and produces euphoria (duration 12 hours vs 1 hour for cocaine).
Side effects are nausea, vomiting, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure e.t.c.
Side effects regarding oral health are dry mouth, a craving for high calorie carbonated beverages, grinding and clenching teeth, bad oral hygiene, tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Please inform Dr. Hoffmeyer of any medical conditions and medications that put you at risk,
so that your periodontal health is treated appropriately.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have.



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