Gum Disease and a Spinal Infection?

Here’s another reason not to delay early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease:

image of human spineA recently published case in Cureus Journal of Medical Science concludes that severe dental disease likely contributed to a case of MRSA and spinal infection in a 54-year-old man. The patient had reportedly not seen a dentist in 24 years and went to his local hospital reporting severe neck and back pain.

Following numerous tests, a health history and thorough consultation with the hospital’s infectious disease team, the doctors concluded that the patient’s severe dental infection led to MRSA in his blood which caused a spinal infection.

We like to keep you up to date on these reports that continue to point to the relationship between severe gum disease (periodontitis) and an unfortunate laundry list of systemic issues and diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease, respiratory diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases, dementia and more.

Periodontitis can often go under-diagnosed since you may initially not notice any symptoms. Having severe gum disease isn’t necessarily the result of not taking good care of your teeth, although poor oral care as well as smoking are leading culprits that contribute to gum disease.

Certain diseases, like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, can make you more susceptible to gum disease, as can certain medications causing dry mouth, hormonal changes, cancer treatments and more.

Signs of Gum Disease

Your gums should fit snugly around your teeth. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should contact your dental provider:

  • Dark, bright red or purplish gums
  • Bad breath that you can’t attribute to other causes
  • Loose teeth
  • Blood on your toothbrush or spitting out blood when brushing/flossing
  • Tender or puffy feeling gums
  • Soreness when chewing and/or a bite that feels off
  • Receding gums

Laser Treatment for Gum Disease

At Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants & Periodontics, we treat gum disease with clinically proven solutions we’ll suggest depending on the severity of the condition. LANAP® (laser assisted new attachment procedure) is one popular alternative to gum surgery.

With LANAP, we can control periodontal disease in less time, with less pain, less downtime and decreased bleeding and swelling. LANAP is also normally safe for patients who might have difficulties with traditional gum surgery, like those who take blood thinners or bisphosphonates (medications for osteoporosis) or have diabetes or HIV.

See Dr. Fava discuss LANAP here. Then contact us today for a consultation at either our Northeast Philadelphia or Ambler offices. Gum disease, if caught early enough, (gingivitis) can be reversed!