When it comes to oral health, many patients are focused solely on keeping their teeth free of cavities. While this is highly important, you have a responsibility to the health of your gums too. In fact, gum disease is one of the most serious oral health conditions. If not treated, gum disease can produce significant consequences within your mouth and your body.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease refers to inflammation or infection within the gum tissues. This is caused when bacteria and plaque are allowed to accumulate at the gum line and around the tooth root. Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the tooth, resulting in deep pockets that accumulate even more bacteria. The infection can spread to the surrounding bone and teeth.
What’s at Stake?
When it comes to gum disease, your smile and your overall health are at risk. While the first stage (gingivitis) can be relatively mild with swollen or red gums, more advanced stages of gum disease (periodontitis) can result in tooth instability and even tooth loss. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
The dangers of gum disease aren’t restricted to your mouth. Gum disease has also been linked to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and premature birth. In addition, your risk for arthritis, respiratory disease and certain cancers are said to be greater.
Who is at Risk?
The best way to prevent gum disease is to learn your risk and modify your habits accordingly. Proper oral hygiene and seeing the dentist twice a year is most important. This ensures that mild gingivitis is treated and reversed before serious consequences occur. Factors such as diabetes, age, tobacco use, poor nutrition and heredity also play a role in determining you risk for gum disease.
Want to learn your risk for gum disease? Schedule an appointment at Family Smiles Dental. We offer treatments for gum disease, including scaling and root planing and other advanced periodontal therapies to restore the health of your smile.
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