Straight, white teeth are only a part of a healthy smile. Your gums create an important foundation to hold these teeth, and when your gum health is compromised, so is the integrity of your teeth.
Your teeth, however, are not the only thing at risk of complication due to gum disease. Periodontal disease can cause inflammation that leads to systemic health problems, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Your gums play the critical role of holding your teeth in your mouth. Gum disease begins when plaque, which comes from bacteria and food particles, wedges itself between your gums and teeth.
If you fail to reach all of the plaque with at-home care and regular professional dental cleanings, the bacteria in this plaque can infect your gums. Infected gums start to pull away from your teeth so they no longer offer a solid foundation. And the bacteria infiltrating your gums can spread to your teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss and bone damage.
The first sign of periodontal disease is gingivitis. You recognize gingivitis when your gums are puffy and bright pink or red. They may feel tender to the touch and bleed easily when you brush or floss. Gingivitis can be reversed before it progresses to full-blown periodontal disease with pristine at-home hygiene and regular dental cleanings in our office.
Chronic disease and periodontal disease
Research links chronic inflammation from periodontal disease with the development and aggravation of cardiovascular problems. The oral bacteria create a state in which your body is more susceptible to heart disease, arterial blockages, and stroke.
Type 2 diabetics are often afflicted with gum disease. Having diabetes can make it difficult to fight off gum infection, so periodontal disease progresses more quickly. Also, if you have gum disease and diabetes, you may find it more difficult to control your blood sugar.
Periodontal disease is associated with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints with resulting pain and dysfunction.
If you’re pregnant, or plan to get pregnant soon, periodontal disease can affect your ability to bring your baby to term. Women with gum disease often give birth to preterm, low-birthweight babies.
Preventing periodontal disease
Your best line of attack against periodontal disease is proper dental hygiene. This includes twice-daily brushing, once-daily flossing, oral rinses as recommended by our office, and visits to Wedgewood Dental twice a year for professional cleanings.
If you do develop periodontal disease, we can help reverse it. A deep cleaning process called scaling and planing tackles the pockets of bacteria that form between your gums and teeth. This allows the gums to reattach to your teeth and give you a healthy, gum disease-free smile. We also offer bone grafting and laser therapy to address advanced periodontal disease.
At Wedgewood Dental, we want to help men and women in the Rolla, Missouri, area maintain the best oral health possible. We provide support for basic hygiene and can help you care for your gums and avoid periodontal disease and its complications. Call for an appointment, or schedule one on this website.