Maybe you’ve experienced some of the symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease: bleeding, inflamed gums, sensitivity, discoloration … the list goes on! You may never have experienced these or other symptoms but that still doesn’t completely eliminate your chances of having or getting gum disease.
For many patients the early symptoms of gum disease aren’t noticeable and are often reversed with better oral hygiene. For other patients periodontal problems never go away, and generally get worse. Over time this can be incredibly destructive on your oral health, which is what brings us to today’s topic: the long-term effects of periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
The soft tissue of your mouth is under assault from the same forces that attack your teeth: plaque bacteria. While it isn’t a problem for your gums under normal conditions there is always the possibility of some plaque bacteria making it below your gum line, where it can start to grow unchecked!
As this process continues your gums start to become irritated and inflamed due to the bacteria. This can cause bleeding and irritation until your gums start to recede, exposing more and more of your teeth.
It isn’t a problem initially, but over time diseased gums will start to recede. As this continues you start to become at risk for losing a tooth! Your gums are an important part of keeping your teeth securely in place, and without them your teeth won’t have anything keeping them in place!
Gum recession can continue and your gums will eventually pull back from your teeth, forming large pockets that can easily become infected. At this point you’ll likely start to experience a loosening of teeth: the first sign that tooth loss is possible!
Damage to your gums eventually progresses to tooth loss, and the loss of one tooth isn’t the end! When you lose a single tooth the neighboring ones are left with nothing supporting them. They’ll shift and move, causing changes in your bite and the position of your top row of teeth.
Since your bottom teeth are already loose the shifting can call them to fall out completely. This domino effect of tooth loss can continue until you’ve lost every single tooth! While techniques such as dentures, implants, and bridges exist to help restore lost teeth you’re still not out of the woods!
There are several strong links between the health of your teeth and the health of your entire body. Your mouth is the only way to put things into your body, so it makes sense that the health of your mouth would be so important to the rest of you!
Presence of gum disease has been linked to:
- Increased risk of heart disease due to the inflammatory nature of gum disease
- Increased risk for Infective Endocarditis if infection reaches the bloodstream
- Stroke patients who were tested for periodontal disease overwhelmingly came up positive
- Because diabetes increases infection risks diabetic patients are at increased risk for gum disease
- Osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones, has been connected to bone loss in the jaw. Jaw bone loss occurs due to teeth lost to periodontal disease.
- Bacteria in the mouth can actually end up in the lungs, leading to chest infections and long-term health problems.
- increased cancer risks
Avoid This Costly Future!
Gum disease is very common, but do you know the worst part? The vast majority of cases can be prevented through good home care habits and regular professional dental care! At our Carmel office we are avid proponents of proactive, protective dental care that includes cleanings and exams and other preventive techniques.
The choice is yours: take action now to keep your whole body healthy or react to gum disease when it’s already too late. Make the right choice and call Really Smile Dental today at 317-451-4050 or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to helping you!