Pennwell web 180 177

Awareness week spreads word about gum disease, treatment options

Feb. 16, 2012
The Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry has designated Feb. 19-25 as the inaugural Gum Disease Awareness Week. IALD President Robert H. Gregg II, DDS, encourages the dental community to be a part of the movement. Mounting evidence links the disease to serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes.
By Robert H. Gregg II, DDS
The Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD) is alerting Americans to something many dental professionals already know: Mounting evidence links gum disease to serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, pre-term births, low birth weight and even stillbirths—a fact that’s especially important given the prevalence of undiagnosed and untreated periodontitis.(1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
The IALD, a national non-profit educational and research center dedicated to providing evidence-based clinical training in advanced laser dentistry therapies, has designated February 19 to 25 as Gum Disease Awareness Week to spread the word about gum disease and its treatment options.(8)
A growing number of studies have been released indicating that gum disease is a likely precursor to a variety of life-threatening conditions. A consensus paper on the relationship between heart disease and gum disease was recently published in the online versions of both the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology.(9) The study revealed that the prevalence and incidence of coronary heart disease are significantly increased in patients with periodontal disease, and the paper’s authors included clinical recommendations for both medical and dental professionals in managing patients at risk for either disease. The groundbreaking result is that cardiologists may now examine a patient’s mouth and periodontists may begin asking questions about heart health and family history of heart disease. Heart disease is just one of the many systemic conditions that have been linked to periodontal disease. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study showing that patients who reported periodontal disease were 2.6 times more likely to have pancreatic cancer.(10) In 2010, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine scientifically proved that gum disease was the cause of the death of a woman’s stillborn baby.(11)Even with this research, only 3% of those diagnosed with moderate to severe gum disease complete treatment. This could be due to patient resistance to traditional flap surgery. In sponsoring Gum Disease Awareness Week, the IALD is dedicated to informing the public of the dangers they face when they leave gum disease untreated, and treatment options such as the evidence-based, FDA-cleared laser treatment alternative that’s less painful, less invasive and proven effective: the LANAP protocol.(12) Tens of thousands of people have received the doctor-dedicated, patient-friendly laser procedure over the past 13 years with consistent, positive results.You can be a part of the movement to increase public awareness and help prevent the life-threatening diseases that may be caused by gum disease. The IALD invites the dental community to be a part of the inaugural Gum Disease Awareness Week by visiting its dedicated Facebook page and Twitter profile.(13,14) Follow both pages for more information on gum health, new research and periodontal disease facts and figures. References
1. 14.!/FightGumDisease.
Robert H. Gregg II, DDS, is President of The Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry and co-developer of LANAP protocol, an evidence-based laser periodontitis treatment.