February 7, 2019
Did you know that nearly half of American adults ages 30 and over have periodontitis? Do you know what periodontitis is? If you don’t, you’re not alone! February is Gum Disease Awareness Month—the perfect time to become educated about this dangerous yet common condition. As you gain more gum disease awareness in Plano, you’ll be able to better protect yourself and ensure your oral and overall health for many years in the future.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that is located in the gums. Plaque, the white, sticky substance that houses bacteria in your mouth, can build up near the gum line. These bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and bleed a little. This first stage is called gingivitis. As the disease progresses, the gums separate from the teeth, creating pockets for more plaque to accumulate. In periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease, the infection spreads to the teeth’s supporting tissue and bone. Untreated, eventually gum disease leads to permanent damage to the bone and tissue and tooth loss.
How does gum disease affect your oral health?
If left unaddressed, gum disease can wreak havoc on more just your gums. In addition to bleeding, red, swollen gums, it can cause your jaw bone to lose density and your teeth to lose the support that keeps them in place. Over time, your bite can become loose, and teeth may need to be extracted, changing how you chew your food, which may lead to indigestion. Also, if you don’t replace your missing tooth, your remaining healthy teeth can shift to compensate for the gap, leading to additional tooth loss. Clearly, gum disease can completely disrupt your oral health.
How does gum disease affect your overall health?
Gum disease has been linked to many medical conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and even Alhzeimer’s. In fact, people who have gum disease increase their risk of heart disease by up to 20 percent. In one study, patients who had both heart and gum diseases had significantly higher cardiovascular care costs than those with only heart disease. So how does a disease found in the mouth have such influence elsewhere in the body, specifically in the heart? One theory says that the harmful bacteria that causes gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the other areas of the body, including in blood vessels that already have plaque buildup, potentially causing an arterial blockage or heart attack.
In the end, gum disease is a serious condition that reaches far beyond your gums. As you continue to learn about this common condition, you’ll be better equipped to manage and prevent it. Your oral and overall health is worth protecting. By becoming more aware, you can enjoy your happy, healthy smile for many years to come. For more information about gum disease, contact your dentist in Plano.
About the Practice
Dental Renaissance is proud to have two talented and experienced dentists. Dr. Christopher Pollard and Dr. Bhavita Patel have decades of experience treating patients of all ages in a wide variety of services, including restorative, preventive, emergency, and cosmetic dentistry in addition to gum disease treatment. To schedule an appointment with them, you can call (972) 423-0880 or click here.
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