Statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research claims that 8.52% of Americans between the ages of 20-65 have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Make an appointment with your trusted dentist as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Tender, red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums (especially when you brush your teeth)
- Pus along the gum line or between your teeth
- Teeth that are suddenly loose or moving apart
- Hard, brown deposits along the gum line
- Dental appliances are not fitting correctly
What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque is a sticky film that is filled with bacteria which gradually builds up on your teeth. If it is allowed to stay and worsen over time, plaque will cause gum disease. To defend itself against these rogue bacteria, the body responds with inflammation. This is why you will see swelling if your gums are infected. Bacteria in the plaque thrive on sugary foods and beverages, which is more detrimental to your dental health.
What Are The Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis: When you notice that your gums are red and puffy and that they bleed a little when you brush, then you probably have gingivitis. It is the earliest stage of gum disease. It usually affects the gum line, and has not touched deeper into the gums, teeth or your jawbone. Gingivitis is easily reversed by regularly brushing and flossing at least three times a day. You will get rid of the poisoning bacteria and your gums will heal. If they do not, then it is time to make a dental appointment.
- Periodontitis: If you do not get your gingivitis under control, then the gum disease will advance to periodontitis. The structures in your mouth that support your teeth are called periodontium. Without them, your teeth could not stay in place. When the periodontium become inflamed with bacteria, the gums, teeth, and bones can be adversely affected. Over time, periodontitis that goes untreated can cause lost teeth, bone loss in the jaws, and severe infection. The damage is not reversible. Smoking is a major factor in periodontitis.
Is Gum Disease Related To Other Systemic Diseases?
The American Academy of Periodontology states that gum disease can not only destroy teeth, but it can also be linked to other diseases in the body. People who have gum disease may also suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health problems.
Although it is difficult to prove a direct cause and effect of gum disease and heart problems, they do factor in inflammation. If you have gum disease, your gums will produce inflammation which can spread throughout the body. Inflamed arteries are major contributors to cardiovascular disease. The plethora of bacteria in the plaque infected gums can also travel through the body, causing more inflammation or infection.
It is common for people who have diabetes to also suffer from gum disease, states an article on verywell.com. The website quotes an opinion from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is that high levels of glucose in the blood can contribute to gum disease. Getting professional help from a dentist can reduce gum disease and minimize the chances of infections that can be bad for diabetics.
You only have one set of permanent teeth in your lifetime. It is imperative that you brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. If you see any signs or symptoms of gum disease, you should go see your dentist as soon as you can. Your teeth, gums, and your overall health depend on it.