Gum disease is an incredibly common problem that currently affects about half of the American population. Starting off as some harmless irritation, this infection can be completely treated and reversed. However, if it persists, it can lead to serious oral AND overall health risks. But how is this possible? What is gum disease and how can it cause so much harm? Keep reading to learn the answers!
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums that starts off incredibly mild but will only get worse if left untreated. This problem is usually caused by poor dental hygiene, allowing plaque and bacteria to buildup on the gumline and infect it. When caught early on, in a stage called gingivitis, gum disease can usually be reversed with a simple dental cleaning and regular brushing/flossing. However, if the infection persists, it can lead to serious health risks like permanently damaged tissue, jawbone deterioration, and even tooth loss.
How Do You Know if You Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can often be hard to spot, but it’s important that you’re able to recognize these common warning signs:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Tender or sensitive gums
- Red gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that appear longer
- Changes in bite
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist right away for treatment. The sooner you can visit their office, the better your chances are of a full recovery.
How Your Gums Can Affect Your Heart
When gum disease persists, it can put your overall health at risk—specifically your heart. The bacteria that inflames your gums can get in your bloodstream, causing inflammation in your arteries as well. This can lead to heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and additional overall health issues. This connection is a relatively recent finding, and more research is being conducted, however it’s safe to say that the importance of gum health has taken on a whole new meaning.
Is Gum Disease Preventable?
Thankfully, you can protect your smile from gum disease and the health problems that come with it! Just follow these simple yet effective steps for exceptional dental hygiene:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session, especially along the gumline.
- Floss once a day to remove plaque and food debris from your smile.
- See your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings at least twice a year.
- Use a nonalcoholic mouthwash after you brush.
Who knew that the way you care for your gums could have an impact on your heart? Just remember this important information to stay healthy and smiling!
About the Practice
At Darby Creek Dental, we have 3 highly trained dentists who combine their knowledge and passion for dentistry to give their patients amazing treatment options. They offer a variety of gum disease services based on your needs. If you have any questions, they can be reached through their website or by phone at (937) 644-8822.