Beyond Your Mouth: The Impact of Gum Disease
Did you know that 85% of Americans suffer from gum disease, yet only 60% of those infected know they have gum disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support your teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss. However, the impact can extend beyond your mouth.
Also known as periodontitis, gum disease can significantly affect your general health. Research shows that there is a connection between gum disease and other serious conditions such as: osteoporosis, oral and pancreatic cancer, brain stroke, and heart disease. Furthermore, gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from oral bacteria that spread through the blood stream. It also impacts those with diabetes by making it difficult to regulate blood glucose levels.
If you have one of these systemic conditions, it’s important to talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease and the best treatment options.
- Poor dental hygiene
- Sugar and acid
- Tooth abnormalities
- Poor dental work
- Wisdom teeth
- Tooth grinding
Symptoms can range from chronic bad breath; red, swollen gums; bleeding when you brush; and painful chewing; loose or sensitive teeth to sensitive or receding gums. Sometimes there are no signs of gum disease, which is why it’s essential to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup.
Gum disease is treatable. The three goals of treatment involve: reducing inflammation, decreasing pocket depth (the space between your tooth and gum) and stopping bone loss. Initial treatment options can include Laser Pocket Disinfection or scaling and root planning (also known as deep cleaning). There are surgery options for advanced gum disease.
To prevent gum disease, be proactive in keeping your mouth healthy by brushing twice daily, flossing daily and having regular dental checkups. For more information, please visit www.fightgumdisease.com.