This discussion is about a subject that is out of my specialty, but it’s something that affects plastic surgery and even health and longevity.

The rate of breast encapsulations (breast firmness and distortion) with breast augmentations varies from 2% to 20%, according to the surgical technique and post-operative care. However, through the years, I have noticed that breast implant encapsulations can occur because of poor dental hygiene.

Why? Because gingivitis or periodontal disease (inflamed, swollen, and/or bleeding gums) is a bacterial problem, and the most common cause of implant encapsulations is bacteria and without a clinical infection. With gingivitis, bacteria invade the blood circulatory system, which is bad for all types of implants, from knees to hips to breasts.

A question to patients with encapsulations is: “Do you have bleeding, inflamed, or swollen gums?” Frequently, the answer is “yes.” The bacterium from gingivitis often becomes blood borne and can enter the scar capsules around the implants, causing encapsulation – even after many years.

In these cases, a scar tightens around the implants and squeezes the implants into a firm, tight ball, according to the degree of encapsulation.

Other problems caused by gingivitis are loss and thinning of the bones that house the teeth, the maxilla and mandible. In severe cases of gingivitis, teeth can be lost.

With bone loss, there is loss of facial volume causing a dramatic appearance of facial aging. Two of the main causes of the appearance of facial aging are volume loss and loss of skin elasticity. Poor dental hygiene causes loss of volume in these facial bones, creating shadows and depressions, including wrinkling around the mouth.

Bone loss of the maxilla causes sagging and turning down of the nose. 

Nasolabial folds between the nose and corner of the mouth are caused by volume loss of the maxilla and cheeks. The mouth area can become very wrinkled, and the “marionette lines” below the corners of the mouth can occur at a younger age with poor dental hygiene.

Unrelated to plastic surgery, but statistics that are important to know are people with periodontal disease have three times the risk of dying from coronary disease prematurely. People with gingivitis have up to a 46% higher chance of dying prematurely. Men under 50 have 2.6 times more risk of dying prematurely and three times more likely to die from heart (coronary) disease.

Gingivitis causes a compromised immune system and increases total body inflammation. This can be translated to dementia and other inflammatory diseases as well as heart disease.

To avoid periodontal disease, visit a dentist twice a year for evaluation and professional cleaning. Floss twice a day with non-waxed floss. Waxed floss only glides over the teeth and does not cut the plaque off.

Brush with an electric toothbrush two or three times a day. A regular toothbrush can be used after lunch at work. After flossing, use a good mouth wash designed to prevent gum disease and reduce plaque. 

To be redundant, plaque is full of bacteria and contributes to breast encapsulations, inflammatory diseases, and reduced longevity. Get rid of it!

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton.