Life is Less Satisfying When Living with Gum Disease, Says New Study

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Many people are aware that gum disease can lead to tooth loss and has been associated with other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. A new study published in the American Academy of Periodontology’s Journal of Periodontology found another reason to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Researchers found that gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

The study, titled “Impact Of Periodontal Disease Experience On Oral Health-Related Quality Of Life,” found that those with periodontal disease (as indicated by bone loss) experienced a worse oral health-related quality of life, including functional limitation, psychological discomfort, and social disability. Many had difficulty pronouncing words, and experienced a decline in tasting the flavor of and eating foods. In addition, sufferers of periodontal disease reported feeling insecure, tense, embarrassed, and irritated, often finding it difficult to relax and do normal daily activities.

“We have long known that gum disease can lead to tooth loss and is linked to other diseases. However, this study demonstrates that periodontal disease can affect a person’s overall quality of life,” says Nancy L. Newhouse, DDS, MS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. “These is why periodontists strongly encourage everyone to brush twice a day, floss at least daily, and receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation from a periodontist or dentist annually to prevent gum disease,” urges Dr. Newhouse. “If improving your quality of life isn’t motivation enough, preventing gum disease may also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and even various forms of cancer.”

Gum disease is defined as a chronic, bacteria-induced inflammatory condition that attacks the gum tissue and in more severe cases, the bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can lead to tooth loss.