I. Stephen Brown, DDS
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Archive for the ‘Periodontal Disease’ Category

Relationship Between Periodontal Disease and COVID-19

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

There is no denying that the world has changed considerably over the past 12 months. Due to the pandemic, life is not as we once knew it. One thing that has changed from a dentistry perspective is the need to wear facemasks when entering the clinic and to respect social distancing rules. However, there are advancements that have been made in terms of researching the connection between oral health and the virus itself. With that being said, in this post, we are going to take a look at the relationship between COVID-19 and periodontal disease specifically in further detail.

Systemic inflammation can be a symptom of both periodontal disease and COVID-19 as well. After noticing this similarity, there has been new research that has been conducted and then published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. It certainly makes good reading because it draws some conclusions regarding the connection between coronavirus and gum disease. In fact, the journal revealed that there is a link between severe COVID-19-related complications and gum disease. So, let’s explore this in further depth.

The nation’s leading organization of periodontists, the American Academy of Periodontology, has stated that these findings show just how significant effective, diligent, and proactive oral care is during the pandemic. It has been clearly established that systemic inflammation is linked with periodontal disease, as well as being linked with a number of different respiratory diseases. As a consequence of this, it is imperative that you keep your gums and teeth in good condition to give yourself the best chance of avoiding periodontal disease developing or getting worse. This is imperative at all times, but it is even more so important during a worldwide pandemic, like COVID-19.

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease, can result in a number of other symptoms, including bad breath and bleeding gums. If it is not treated, it can also end up causing tooth loss. Research that has been carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the American Academy of Periodontology, has indicated that up to half of the adults in the United States over the age of 30-years-old have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of other serious diseases and conditions aside from COVID-19, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes.

There are further studies and research that has been carried out in regard to the relationship between COVID-19 and periodontal disease. Using the electronic national health records of the State of Qatar between the months of February and July of 2020, the study assessed patient cases with severe complications relating to COVID-19, for instance, assisted ventilation, ICU admissions, and death. The control group consisted of patients who have had COVID-19 and been discharged without any sort of significant complications. Data from the two groups were assessed in regards to the periodontal disease, utilizing dental radiographs from the same database.

The findings from the study were certainly interesting, to say the least. The study involved 568 patients being assessed. Of those patients, those with the most severe cases of gum disease, i.e. periodontitis, were at least three times more likely to experience complications from coronavirus, which include the need for assisted ventilation, ICU admission, and even death. In addition to this, patients with COVID-19 and periodontitis showed a heightened level of biomarkers associated with worsened disease outcomes, including c-reactive protein, D-dimer, and white blood cells.

Of course, there is more research that needs to be done on this virus. It is still very early days and there is a lot that needs to be done. However, if you look at the research that has been done up to this point, you can see that there is clearly a connection between periodontal disease and COVID-19.

Treating periodontal disease is imperative

Treating periodontal disease has always been important. Allowing it to get worse can result in tooth loss eventually, which is the last thing anyone wants. Plus, when you consider the link between COVID-19 and periodontal disease, you see why it is even more important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist if you notice any of the signs of periodontal disease.

So, what sort of signs and indications should you be looking for? Examples include the following:

  • Pus that is in between your gums and your teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Spitting out blood when you floss or brush your teeth
  • Gums that bleed with ease
  • Gums that feel tender whenever you touch them
  • A toothbrush that is tinged pink once you have brushed your teeth
  • Purplish, dusky red, or bright red gums
  • Puffy or swollen gums

If you notice any of the signs that have been mentioned above, the best thing to do is contact us as soon as possible so that we can provide a thorough dental examination. This will enable us to get to the bottom of the symptoms you have and whether or not this is periodontal disease. If it is periodontal disease, we will be able to discuss your treatment options with you to make sure you have the best recovery plan in place and the condition does not get worse.

Contact The Perio Group to schedule an appointment today

If you require periodontal disease treatment, or you want to achieve the perfect smile with the help of one of the best periodontists in Philadelphia, all you need to do is give The Perio Group a call today. You will speak to one of our friendly and professional team members who will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your dental concerns.

The Periodontal to Systemic Disease Link

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A series of consensus reports recently published by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the American Academy helps define the association between periodontal health and systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and adverse pregnancy complications.

As a periodontist in Philadelphia, I am continually trying to better understand the relationship between periodontal disease and other diseases, allowing me to help my patients improve both their periodontal and systemic health.

These reports cover the links between periodontal disease and the following systemic diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • COPD
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cancer

The reports can be viewed here: http://www.joponline.org/toc/jop/84/4-s

These exciting advancements further stress the importance of maintaining oral health and allow us to help individuals increase overall health when treating periodontal disease.

To discuss these advancements further, or to see if treating your periodontal disease could improve your overall health, please contact our Philadelphia dental office.

The Different Types of Periodontal Disease in Children

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease. During puberty, an increased level of hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.

As a teen progresses through puberty, the tendency for the gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is very important to follow a good at-home dental hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

3 Different Types of Periodontal Disease that Commonly Affect Children

Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.

To learn more about periodontal disease, or to set up an evaluation for your child today, please contact our Philadelphia dental office.

The Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many factors that contribute to gum disease which we can control. In the ongoing fight against gum disease and for the protection of your overall health it is incredibly important to be aware of the following contributors to gum disease.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.


Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early intervention treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.


Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.


Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontists.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.


Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Other Systemic Diseases

Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Identifying the Main Causes of Tooth Loss

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Tooth loss is a traumatic experience, regardless of how it occurs. Teeth are a major part of our lives, from chewing the food we need to digest, to enhancing a smile with a strong showing of self-confidence. While it can be a very hard time in your life, the exciting news is that modern day advanced dentistry allows you several options when considering the replacement of missing teeth.


Dental (Periodontal) Diseases

Periodontal diseases are regarded as the most common cause of tooth loss today. The word periodontal means around the tooth, signifying the typical location of the infection.

There are many key factors that contribute to periodontal disease, most specifically daily habits that would affect the teeth. To be more specific, the disease is caused by bacteria that, along with mucus and other particles, form plaque on our teeth. While daily cleaning of our teeth such as brushing or flossing helps remove plaque, it does not remove plaque that has hardened into tartar. While it’s true that a professional cleaning done by a dentist or hygienist can remove tartar, there is still a risk to your health if tartar is prevalent for too long.

Traditional treatment for periodontal disease requires blade surgery, extensive recovery time, and often leaves patients with scarring in the tissue affected. Dr. Brown is proud to offer the use of LANAP, a non-invasive laser gum treatment which serves as an alternative to traditional periodontal surgery.

To read more about periodontal disease, visit the section of our website dedicated to identifying and solving dental disease.


Odds are high that you have experienced trauma to a tooth in your lifetime. Whether it’s from a sports incident when younger, or an accidental misplacement of your feet, any blunt force to the teeth often result in chipping or breaking off a tooth.

While trauma usually indicates a direct effect to the teeth itself, it can also mean as a result of outside influences affecting the jawbone, or other areas around the teeth. Individuals who have had defects of the jaw bone, such as following surgery or in an automobile accident, often require surgery to repair loss of jaw bone volume, which is often compounded with tooth replacement.

To learn more about how Dr. Brown helps individuals with tooth loss, visit the dental implants subsection of our website.

Congenital absence

The primary cause of congenital absence of teeth is widely debated, but is often agreed upon as being hereditary. How it comes to be is typically after a baby tooth falls out and there is no tooth to replace it. The teeth most often affected are the upper jaw lateral incisors and premolars.

You’ll often find that it is specific teeth affected by congenital absence, but in certain cases all permanent teeth are missing, making a full set of replacement teeth the solution.



There are many causes for missing teeth, but that doesn’t mean you have to live your life without them. It’s recommended to take steps to prevent teeth from falling out, but in the event of missing teeth, feel free to contact my Philadelphia office to discuss your options.


Are There Links Between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Researchers may be one step closer to establishing a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD) – the number one cause of death worldwide.

These investigators report that older adults who have higher proportions of four periodontal-disease-causing bacteria inhabiting their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack. The study, published in the journal Circulation, was supported by four agencies of the National Institutes of Health.

While current research does not yet provide evidence of a causal relationship between the two diseases, scientists have identified biologic factors, such as chronic inflammation, that independently link periodontal disease to the development or progression of cardiovascular disease.

According to the authors, these data mark the first report of a direct association between cardiovascular disease and bacteria involved in periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums that affects to varying degrees an estimated 200 million Americans.

Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial growth and production of factors that gradually destroy the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. Some symptoms may include gums that are swollen or tender, receding gums or persistent bad breath.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, periodontal disease contributes to blood vessel dysfunction, which was improved by an intensive regimen of periodontal treatment.

Currently, more than one in three Americans over age 30 has some form of Periodontitis, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Recent statistics have  estimated that the prevalence of moderate to advanced gum disease may be as high as 50% of adults in the US.

If you are concerned about the health of your gums and teeth, call today to schedule an appointment with a highly-trained periodontist. We can provide you with a thorough periodontal examination, from which we can make an assessment of your cardiovascular risk potential, associated with Periodontal Diseases.


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