What do heart disease, premature birth, and diabetes have in common? The answer will probably surprise you. They have all been linked to gum disease. The bacteria found in gum disease enter the blood stream and flows to other parts of the body. Regular dental hygiene visits can minimize your risk for gum disease, although your genes also play an important role in your risk.
Dangers of Gum Disease
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and dental implant failure. As bacteria infect your gums around your teeth, they first separate your gums from your teeth, creating pockets around your gums where they can live. As the colonies of bacteria grow there, a combination of the acid they excrete and your body’s immune response begin to remove bone and tendons around the tooth. Eventually, this will lead to loose teeth and finally, tooth loss.
As we noted above, gum disease has also been related to heart disease, premature birth and low birth weight, and diabetes. It has also been linked to erectile dysfunction, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. The causal relationship between these diseases are in dispute, but there is some evidence that treating gum disease may improve your overall health.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
You should count on us to diagnose your gum disease at your regular appointment, but you should look out for the following warning signs between appointments:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, tender, or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Longer-looking teeth (receding gums)
If you notice sudden changes to your gums, you should contact our office to schedule an appointment immediately.
Preventing Gum Disease
You play an important role in protecting your body from gum disease. Make sure you follow a good oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day.
At your checkups, our hygienist will thoroughly evaluate your soft tissues for gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, a thorough effective cleaning, followed by careful homecare, can prevent the disease from progressing.
Treating Gum Disease
If our hygienist finds significant gum disease, she may suggest scaling or root planing to remove plaque and deter future buildup.
For serious cases, we recommend laser dentistry with our new EZlase to clean pockets of infection and promote gum reattachment. This minimally invasive technique is comfortable and conservative. For patients with extreme anxiety, we offer conscious oral sedation; however, many patients find they don’t need any anesthesia with laser dentistry. We also provide receding gums treatment through the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique ®.