Periodontal Disease, Perio Pathogens & Rocket Science

Risk factors for heart attack include; age, tobacco, high blood pressure, lipid profile, diabetes, family history of heart attack, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, illicit drug use, history of preeclampsia, history of autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and so on and so on. Why have all these risk factors been identified? Because it is better to prevent a heart attack than it is to have one. Risk factor identification and modification is the cornerstone of preventive healthcare.

The list of risk factors for periodontal disease is similar, and includes; tobacco use, diabetes, stress, heredity, medication induced xerostomia, poor oral hygiene, hormones, connective tissue disorders, poor nutrition, and so on and so on. The biggest risk factor leading to gum disease, however, are the specific bacteria. The giants in the field of periodontal research are Dr. Anne Haffajee and the late Dr. Sig Socransky, whose groundbreaking studies that led to the identification of those disease causing periodontal pathogens, stated the following; “The ultimate risk factor for an infectious disease is the causative agent of that disease. Without that agent, no disease will take place no matter what other risk factors the subject may possess”. In the case of periodontal disease those agents are the bacteria.

Further they stated, “Rarely do we focus on the real culprit, the organisms that caused the disease in the first place!!!” (Their emphasis).

There you have it. It is better to prevent periodontitis than it is to have it. Would you have better success with your prevention strategy if you knew what bacteria each patient was harboring? Wouldn’t it be better to know what disease causing bacteria were lurking below the gumline? You bet.

This is not rocket science.

We hope you enjoyed the holiday throwback, this blog originally posted 10/7/2016.

**To learn more about becoming an OralDNA Provider: Text “OralDNA” to 43766**

Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS

Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS

Dr. Richard Nagelberg has been practicing general dentistry in suburban Philadelphia for 34 years. He has international practice experience, having provided dental services in Thailand, Cambodia, and Canada. He is an advisory board member, speaker, key opinion leader and clinical consultant for several dental companies and organizations. Richard has a monthly column in Dental Economics magazine, “GP Perio-The Oral-Systemic Connection”. He is a recipient of Dentistry Today’s Top Clinicians in CE, 2009-2016. A respected member of the dental community, Richard lectures internationally on a variety of topics centered on understanding the impact dental professionals have beyond the oral cavity.
Richard H. Nagelberg, DDS

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