What is Gum Disease?

Often, gum disease can exist in an individual with little to no apparent symptoms. Gums that appear healthy and pink at initial glance can have harmful buildup below the gumline that can affect one’s oral health. This buildup, called calculus, is an accumulation of hardened plaque and toxin emitting bacteria. Over time it can can cause tissue loss around the tooth, and even loss of the tooth itself. To help detect signs of gum disease, an instrument called a periodontal probe is used. It has indicators on it to help measure the depth of the tissue surrounding the tooth; with notches measured in millimeters. The probe is placed in between the tooth and gums and measures the depth of what is called the periodontal pocket- the space between your teeth and the surrounding gums and bone. An easy indicator of trouble is discovery of deep periodontal pockets, typically deeper than 3 mm, which indicate inflamed gums, or possibly erosion of the bone surrounding the tooth. Gingival probing is a critical part of the dental examination to ensure that your teeth and gums are maintained at optimum health.

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Gingivitis: Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition of the gum tissue caused by the buildup of bacteria on the teeth. It is an early form of gum disease that has not progressed to the point of tissue or bone loss. When plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, the bacteria within it begins to cause redness, irritation, and swelling of the gum tissue. Since gingivitis rarely causes pain, most patients do not even know when they have it. Additional symptoms can also include sensitivity and tenderness of the gum tissue, and slight bleeding when brushing, flossing, or probing during an examination.

Periodontitis: Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that is much more serious than gingivitis that has damaged the gums and bone that has jeopardized the health of your teeth. Some symptoms of periodontitis can include red, swollen gums, gums that recede from the teeth, loose teeth, and bad breath. In some cases, the infection may be deep below the surface and may appear to have few external symptoms. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to significant gum recession and bone loss, which can then cause tooth loss and serious health problems — including increased risk of heart disease.

Dangers of Gum Disease

Gum Disease is Linked to Serious Health Risks

If you have gum disease symptoms or suffer from gum disease, it is important to seek gum disease treatment, as you have open wounds in your gums that allow the bacteria to enter directly into your blood stream and circulate throughout your body.

Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for many serious health complications, including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Premature Birth or Low Birth-Weight Babies
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Memory Loss or Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Kidney Disease

Dangers of Gum Disease in Florence and Highland Heights

There are millions of germs that live in your mouth. If you have gum disease symptoms or suffer from gum disease, it is important to seek gum disease treatment, as you have open wounds in your gums that allow the bacteria to enter directly into your blood stream and circulate throughout your body. Some of the bacteria normally found in the mouth enter your bloodstream through infected gums and can relocate to other parts of your body with the potential of creating disease in organs and systems.

Research has shown some links between periodontal disease and heart disease, ischemic stroke, respiratory disease, head and neck cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and increased risk of pre-term delivery. Seeking gum disease treatment early on is vital to protecting your oral and general health.

While many gum disease symptoms exist, tooth loss is the most severe. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for the majority of adults in the United States. Losing your teeth, however, is not the only danger of this disease. When teeth become lost, it is more difficult for patients to chew properly and may even affect the types of foods that they are able to consume. Without a healthy, nutritious diet, overall health can decline, further leading to systemic illness. If you notice that your teeth are becoming loose or if any other gum disease symptoms are occurring, seek treatment right away.

When you have gum disease, there is an active, living infection in your mouth. This infection releases toxins throughout the entire body via the blood vessels in your mouth causing a variety of health related issues. Many people have this condition, yet are not even aware.

Given the potential life threatening effects of gum disease, it is very important to maintain regular dental exams and cleanings. Your dental professional will provide periodic screenings for gum disease. If the presence of gum disease is detected, either non-surgical or surgical gum disease treatment will be provided to address and control the disease. There is no cure for periodontal disease. We must treat this condition and maintain your oral health to prevent the progression of periodontal disease.

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