How Does Gum Disease Impact Your Health?
Gum disease is the number one reason why most adults lose their teeth. It causes the gums to recede, bone support to be lost, teeth to become mobile – and then eventually fall out. But did you know that gum disease (periodontal disease) also has very serious health ramifications?
Untreated gum disease is directly linked with many different health conditions; problems like diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and even erectile dysfunction. In fact, the worse off the gum disease is – the more likely your associated health problems are to be severe in nature. To control one, you have to address them both.
Bacteria Throughout Your Body
Active oral infections like gum disease allow live bacteria to enter directly into your bloodstream. This happens in the infected gum pocket around your tooth, where plaque has packed and built up over time. Your gums are probably swollen or bleed when you floss these areas (both signs of an infection.) As the bacteria cross into your bloodstream, they travel throughout the rest of your body.
Scientific research has shown that these bacteria can build up and deposit themselves throughout the heart and cardiovascular system – deposits have even been seen in the cranial arteries of stroke victims.
It’s not just your own health at stake. Pregnant mothers may risk their unborn baby to premature labor or low birth weight, due to bacteria passing through the placenta to their child. Gum disease may even make it more difficult to become pregnant in the first place, as recent studies have linked it directly with infertility.
Eliminating the Source
The first step to gaining control over your oral health and improving other medical conditions is to eliminate the bacteria from your mouth. This involves thoroughly brushing the gumlines and flossing around each tooth, every day. Flossing cannot be skipped – as it’s the only way to target bacteria between your teeth or under your gumlines. People with active periodontitis may also benefit from other types of oral hygiene aids such as floss threaders or water flossers to reach harder to access areas.
Of course, brushing and flossing won’t remove calcified buildup that has already formed. Even great oral hygiene may miss some plaque now and then, and tartar deposits slowly accumulate under the gumlines. That’s why we recommend regular dental cleanings at least twice a year to remove these deposits. If they aren’t removed, they cause the gums to continue detaching from the tooth surface.
In more severe cases of gum disease, we may suggest that you have a deep cleaning. Deep cleanings focus on all of the root surfaces throughout every deep pocket, thoroughly cleaning them so that the gums can reattach. The process doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedicated daily home care and some symptoms may take up to two weeks or more to reverse.
At Marconi Dental Group, we do everything we can to help you avoid gum surgery. We want your smile to be healthy, along with the rest of you! If it’s been longer than 6 months since your last cleaning, or if you suffer from swollen, bleeding gums – call us today!