You take great care to prevent the development of tooth decay, but did you know that there is another danger threatening your oral health? Gum disease is a common infection that affects roughly 50% of adults in the United States. It is a leading cause for tooth loss and can negatively impact your oral and general health. While it is preventable and easily treatable when caught early, many fail to recognize the signs of the condition, allowing it to progress in severity until significant periodontal pain and complications develop. To protect your smile, it is important to seek treatment at the first sign of the infection.
Gum disease develops due to an infection that is caused by bacteria that is found in plaque and tartar accumulations. As the tissue becomes infected, inflammation and redness will occur. It is not uncommon to experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing your teeth. Over time, you may begin to develop bad breath that will not seem to go away despite improving your oral hygiene routine.
At this point, the infection can easily be stopped without causing any long-term damage to your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, many ignore these early warning signs, allowing gingivitis to progress to advanced periodontitis.
Risks of Periodontitis
As the infection intensifies, it will begin to destroy the bone support for your teeth, which is not easy to reverse. As this occurs, your bad breath will worsen. You will also have gum pain, swelling, and frequent bleeding. It is not uncommon for the gum tissue to begin to recede, causing the roots of the teeth to become exposed. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may even see pus around the teeth.
As more of the bone structure is lost, your teeth will become loose and may eventually fall out; however, tooth loss is not the only concern. The bacteria responsible for the infection can enter the bloodstream. As it circulates throughout the body it causes systemic health issues, like heart disease. Research also shows a direct correlation between several other health issues as well, like respiratory infections, diabetic complications, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Protect Your Smile
Thankfully, you can prevent gum disease by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing each night before going to bed. In addition, it is best to maintain your semi-annual appointments for a cleaning and checkup. During your dental visit, your dentist will check the health of your gums using probing. This will help to monitor your gum health while also detecting the infection early for prompt treatment.
If you notice any signs of the infection, do not wait to get the care that you need. Contact your dentist right away for treatment.
About Dr. Gary Henkel
Dr. Gary Henkel is a trusted dentist in Horsham for high-quality dental care. In addition to general dentistry, he offers many areas of specialty services, including periodontal therapy. He has the solutions you need to protect and maintain your gum health. If you need treatment for gum disease, contact Horsham Dental Elements today to schedule a consultation.