You’ve probably heard of it before, but did you know that, when left unchecked, gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America? As devastating as tooth loss may be, it is not the only destruction that it gum disease can cause. By understanding gum disease and how it develops, you can increase your chances of preventing it, or treating it before it leads to serious oral health complications. Today, we look at some of the more important things you should know about gum disease and why treating it so important.
The Real Dangers of Gum Disease
- Since tooth decay directly attacks your tooth’s structure, you might believe that it’s the main cause of tooth loss. Yet, even advanced decay can often be treated while leaving enough healthy tooth structure to justify restoring the tooth. By contrast, gum disease attacks your gums and jawbone that support your teeth. As it advances, it attacks these structures until they can no longer hold on to all of your teeth.
- Gum disease can usually be traced to inadequate oral hygiene and excessive dental plaque buildup. The sticky substance that coats your teeth and gums is comprised mostly of oral bacteria, some of which irritate your gums and manipulate inflammation. This paves the way for the onset of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
- If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, don’t ignore it. Inflamed and bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis. Periodontal cleaning can often remove bacteria and tartar from underneath your gum line, possibly reversing gingivitis. However, once it progresses, reversing gum disease will no longer be an option.
- The same bacteria responsible for rampant inflammation in your gums, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, have also been linked to inflammation in other areas of the body. gingivalis infection has been observed as an agitator in the development of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, and other chronic inflammatory illnesses.
Protect Your Smile from Gum Disease
The more you know about gum disease, the better prepared you’ll be to protect your smile and your systemic health from its consequences. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in Des Moines, IA, today at (515) 244-9565.