Chronic Oral Infections And Your Health

Oral health is crucial for overall systemic health.

An increasing number of studies confirm this, highlighting links between oral infections and systemic problems such as cardiovascular disease and a decline in overall wellbeing.

A generalized high inflammatory state, such as artherosclerosis, is a major underlying factor in causing coronary heart disease. Chronic inflammatory dental infections may also negatively contribute to this. These infections are usually gum (periodontal) related or root canal (endodontic) related. The possibility of a correlation between chronic dental infections and coronary heart disease is emerging at microbiological, clinical, inflammatory and molecular levels.

Transparency around this growing concern could assist in promoting awareness among both medical practitioners, as well as patients.

A longstanding chronic inflammatory state anywhere in the body is known to contribute to many degenerative diseases. This can include dental infections such as gum disease (periodontitis) or root canal lesions.

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gum and bone tissue surrounding teeth. It eventually leads to the destruction of these tissues. It has been positively linked to cardiovascular disease as well as other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Root canal lesions (chronic apical periodontitis) are acute or chronic inflammatory lesions around the tip of a tooth root and are caused by bacterial infection of the root canal system. Although the causes differ, it bears some similarities to chronic gum disease, and the same systemic effects may be applicable as with periodontitis.

Chronic Oral Infections And Your Health

3D scan of patient with chronic oral infection

So how do we identify these, and how do we treat them?

Regular general dental checkups should be first on your list. This should identify obvious dental problems as well as possible gum disease issues. Most patients also benefit from regular oral hygiene sessions, which, in combination with good oral hygiene at home, will prevent the occurrence of gum disease. In advanced cases of gum disease, it may be necessary to consult a specialist Periodontist. Some warning signs of gum disease are bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, loose or mobile teeth, development of spaces between teeth and bad breath.

Technology and expertise help with early detection

Enamel Clinic has two specialist periodontists on the team, namely Dr Howard Gluckman and Dr Willie Ritz.

Root canal related problems can be detected with regular examinations but sometimes require more specialized 3D X-ray systems, using CBCT scanners, of which Enamel Clinic has two. These scanners use advanced imaging technology, enabling us to quickly and accurately evaluate the patient’s potential condition.

CBCT Scanners used to detect chronic oral infections

Warning signs of issues relating to the root canal are pain, hypersensitivity, gum swelling or boils, etc. Very often, these infections go unnoticed due to no symptoms or signs and can only be detected with a 3D scan. Treatment is usually centred around doing Root Canal Treatment which, if done correctly, is highly successful. A properly treated and restored root canal tooth can have the same lifespan as any unaffected tooth.

Enamel Clinic has two Endodontic (root canal) doctors, namely Dr Andre Brand and Dr Sonja Britz.

Contact us. We’d love to help you.