Did you know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States? Considering that nearly half of the American population has some form of periodontal disease (according to the CDC), this oral health problem needs to be taken seriously.
It is important to know that Just because you were diagnosed with gum disease does not mean that you are about to lose your teeth. Gum disease occurs in stages, and it is highly treatable if detected early.
The Stages of Gum Disease
To understand how gum disease causes tooth loss, it is important to understand the distinct stages of gum disease if it goes untreated. It all begins with plaque, a colorless and sticky substance that develops on everyone’s teeth. Diligent oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings can remove plaque before it causes harm. However, if the plaque builds up around the teeth, it will eventually harden, irritate the gums and cause swelling and bleeding. At this initial stage, it is called gingivitis and is easily reversible with better oral hygiene habits or a deep cleaning from your dentist.
Left unchecked, however, gingivitis can worsen and progress into advanced periodontal disease. This happens when irritated gums become infected and the infection destroys the surrounding bone and connective tissues. Patients may notice the gums receding or pulling away from the tooth root. Without proper support, a tooth will become loose and either fall out or need to be extracted.
The Risk to Your Whole Body Health
Not only does gum disease sabotage your natural smile, it can also put your overall health at risk. Gum disease has been linked to several serious medical conditions, ranging from premature birth and stroke to heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that gum disease is preventable by simply brushing as well as flossing and seeing your dentist for your six-month cleanings and checkups. The earlier your dentist detects gum disease, the easier it is to resolve. Procedures such as scaling and root planing for early gum disease or laser therapy for advanced gum disease can be used to eradicate the infection before it is too late.
If you notice signs of red, bleeding or puffy gums, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Tejal Kakade in Carrolton. Your gums are the foundation of your smile – let us give them the care and attention they need.