The Dangers of Gum Disease
Most people often overlook their dental health until there is a problem. This neglect includes things like flossing regularly and routine dental exams that can help to prevent and catch oral health problems early on.
As a result, the teeth and gums are left unattended and exposed to all sorts of dental health problems. These dental health problems include things like bad breath, cavities and, worst of all, gum disease.
Gum disease is a serious dental health problem and is the leading cause of tooth loss and other oral and overall health problems. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know they have gum disease until it’s too late. So, what can you do to protect yourself against gum disease?
Let’s find out!
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can progress and destroy the bone that supports your teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can turn into tartar (a hard, calcified substance), which irritates and inflames the gums. This can lead to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease characterized by red, swollen and bleeding gums.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease. Periodontitis destroys the bone and connective tissue that support your teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is a serious dental health problem. Still, it is also linked to other overall health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. This is why it is so important to take care of your oral health and get regular dental exams.
Symptoms Of Gum Disease
The symptoms of gum disease can vary depending on the severity of the disease. In its early stages, gum disease may not cause any symptoms. However, as gum disease progresses, the symptoms become more noticeable. These symptoms include:
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
You should see a dentist immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. The sooner gum disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
Impact Of Gum Disease on Our Overall Health
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect other parts of the mouth and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. While most people are aware of the link between gum disease and dental health, few realize that gum disease has been linked to several other serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that nearly 80% of American adults have some form of gum disease. And while it is most common in adults over 30, children as young as six can develop gum disease.
- Gum disease and the heart:
The AAP has identified periodontitis as a risk factor for heart disease. Studies have shown that the bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Gum disease and diabetes:
There is a strong link between gum disease and diabetes. People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease, and people with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes. This is because gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can make it difficult for the body to control blood sugar levels.
- Gum disease and the brain:
Recent studies have also linked gum disease to problems with memory and cognitive function. The inflammation caused by gum disease has been shown to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Treating Gum Disease
Once gum disease has been diagnosed, the treatment will depend on the severity of the disease. In its early stages, gum disease can be treated with a deep cleaning. This involves removing the plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.
However, more aggressive treatment may be necessary if the disease has progressed to periodontitis. This could involve things like scaling and root planning (a deep cleaning below the gum line), antibiotics or surgery to remove the infected tissue.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental exams. Good oral hygiene habits can help to remove the plaque from your teeth and gums before it turns into tartar. This can help to prevent gum disease and keep your smile healthy.
Gum disease is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. It can cause extensive damage to our teeth, gums and overall health if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, please see a periodontist as soon as possible for treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing further damage and preserving your oral health.