Tooth decay is the most prevalent health problem in Australia but it’s relative, gum disease may be silently having a far larger impact since it can lead to heart disease, arthritis , prostate cancer, diabetes, low weight births and other chronic illnesses. The reason chronic inflammatory gum disease is now the fifth most prevalent health problem among Australians is that, it is painless and goes widely unnoticed. One in five Australian adults may have a form of periodontitis and the British Medical Journal recently called periodontitis a major public health problem, causing tooth loss, poor nutritional status and impacting on quality of life.
Because our present way of dealing with the gum disease leads only to arresting its progression and we are unable to reverse the damage that has been caused, research is now focusing on developing a vaccine. The major challenges in vaccine development are that in periodontitis there are many kinds of bacteria that join forces to elicit the disease, making the design of a vaccine very complex.
While the scientist are working hard to find a cure for periodontal disease, we need to continue and be very diligent in our oral hygiene to avoid the progression of gum disease and its effects on our health. Presently there is no replacement to brushing, flossing, interdental cleaning and periodical visits to the dentist. Left untreated the gum disease can cause irreversible destruction.