Routine tooth brushing and flossing and regular check-ups by a dental professional remain the cornerstone of a healthy mouth. However, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), pairing a few well-known healthy-lifestyle habits with your daily oral health regimen may also help reduce your risk for periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. According to Dr. Pamela McClain, President of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, “If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and may also interfere with other systems of the body. Several research studies have indicated that one’s periodontal health may be related to overall health. Therefore, it is crucial that you do everything you can to establish good periodontal health.”

According to the AAP, the following tips may help sustain healthy teeth and gums while also helping you live an overall healthy lifestyle:

Eat and drink up: It is well known that eating a balanced diet leads to proper nutrition and helps keep the body running effectively. Studies published in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) have also shown that certain foods can promote teeth and gum health. Foods containing omega-3, calcium, vitamin D and even honey have all been shown to reduce the incidence or severity of periodontal disease.

Hit the gym: Frequent exercise is a recognized way to avoid being overweight, and it may ultimately reduce your risk of periodontal disease. In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis than those that did not exercise.

Stress less: Stress can lead to a variety of health complications, including periodontal disease. Research published in the JOP showed a relationship between stress and periodontal disease. Increased levels of cortisol, which the body releases when experiencing stress, can intensify the destruction of the gums and bone due to periodontal disease. In addition, another JOP study indicated that people experiencing stress are more likely to neglect their oral hygiene.

Kick the habit: Smoking is not only a leading cause of respiratory and cardiovascular disease in the United States, it is also a major risk factor for periodontal disease. Several research studies have shown that smoking not only increases the chance of developing periodontal disease, but it can also affect the success of treatments for existing periodontal disease.

See the doctor: Regular check-ups by a physician can help with early diagnosis of several health issues, including periodontal disease. A large body of research associates gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, by screening for systemic disease early and receiving any needed treatment, you may also benefit your periodontal health.


Dr. McClain stresses that while these tips may contribute to healthy teeth and gums, the benefit of routine oral care cannot be discounted. “Taking good care of your periodontal health starts with daily tooth brushing and flossing. You should also expect to get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, or CPE, every year,” she advises. A dental professional, such as a periodontist, a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum disease, can conduct a comprehensive exam to assess your periodontal health.

About the AAP
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is the professional organization for periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also dentistry’s experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. They receive three additional years of specialized training following dental school, and periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAP has 8,400 members worldwide.













Injectable Progesterone Contraceptives May Be Associated with Poor Periodontal Health

From the AAP newsroom:

Beyond the Brush: Five Ways to Help Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums

From the AAP newsroom:

Injectable progesterone contraceptives may be associated with poor periodontal health, according to research in the Journal of Periodontology. The study found that women who are currently taking depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) injectable contraceptive, or have taken DMPA in the past, are more likely to have indicators of poor periodontal health, including gingivitis and periodontitis, than women who have never taken the injectable contraceptive. DMPA is a long-lasting progestin-only injectable contraceptive administered intermuscularly every three months.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease and can lead to tooth loss. Additionally, research has associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The data for this study were obtained from the NHANES 1999-2004 public use datasets. The participants chosen were non-pregnant, premenopausal women aged 15-44 who had provided complete DMPA usage data, indicating current usage of DMPA, past usage of DMPA, or no usage of DMPA at all. All participants received a dental examination that noted clinical attachment (CA) loss, periodontal pocket assessment at two or three sites per tooth, and presence of gingival bleeding.

After adjusting for age, race, education, poverty income level, and smoking status, the study found that current and past DMPA users had significantly increased periodontal pockets, gingival bleeding, and CA loss than women who have never used DMPA. Current DMPA users were more likely to have gingivitis, while past DMPA users were more likely to have periodontitis.

According to Dr. Pamela McClain, President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, women currently taking DMPA or that have used DMPA in the past should pay careful attention to their teeth and gums. “Hormones can play a role in woman’s periodontal health. These findings suggest that women that use, or have used, a hormone-based injectable contraception such as DMPA may have increased odds of poor periodontal health. I would encourage women that use or previously used this form of contraception to maintain excellent oral care, and to be sure to see a dental professional for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation on an annual basis.”

Study Information
Taichman, L. S., Sohn, W, Kolenic, G. & Sowers, M. (in press). Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Use and Periodontal Health in United States Women Ages 15-44. Abstracts of Journal of Periodontology articles are available to the public online. Full-text of studies may be accessed by AAP members and Journal subscribers or purchased online.


About the AAP
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is the professional organization for periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also dentistry’s experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. They receive three additional years of specialized training following dental school, and periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAP has 8,400 members worldwide.











SWARTHMORE DENTAL ASSOCIATES
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D. | prosthodontist
Laura Minsk, D.M.D. | periodontist
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D.
Laura Minsk, D.M.D.
801 Yale Ave.
Suite 619
Swarthmore, PA 19081
(610)328-4815