Gum disease is one of the most prevalent oral health conditions in the United States. It is also one of the most serious. When left untreated, periodontal disease not only leads to tooth loss, but it has also been linked to several overall health issues. Put simply, gum disease threatens more than just your smile.
The Progression of Gum Disease
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, refers to an infection within the soft tissues that support your teeth. The condition typically begins with poor oral hygiene, or when plaque, food debris and bacteria are allowed to accumulate along the gum line. At its early stage, gum disease is called gingivitis and is marked by irritated, inflamed and bleeding gums. If the disease progresses into advanced periodontitis, however, the gums can become severely infected and pull away from the roots of the teeth. Deep pockets of tissue form, which harbors even more bacteria and infection. Eventually, the underlying bone can be destroyed by gum disease and tooth loss is a real possibility.
The Overall Health Consequences of Gum Disease
While it is easy to understand the threats that gum disease brings to your oral health, the consequences within your body health may be less obvious, and they are often less known. The truth is, gum disease can affect the entire body when left untreated. In fact, gum disease has been linked to the following medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Pre-mature births
Protect Your Gums
There’s no question that gum disease brings serious penalties to your mouth and body. But there’s good news – gum disease is preventable. Taking care of your gums and preventing disease includes brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You can also lower your risk by avoiding tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption. If you have a family history of gum disease, it may also be necessary to see your dentist more than twice a year. Most importantly, take prompt action if you notice the initial signs of gum disease (or gingivitis), such as red, puffy, swollen and bleeding within your gums. This is the most reversible stage of gum disease.
To schedule gum disease therapy with a trusted family dentist, call Dr. Tejal Kakade. We understand the importance of optimal gum health at every phase of life!