At AtlantaPeriodontics.com we know that many adults in Atlanta have some form of gum disease, from simple inflammation to major disease that causes tooth loss. They may feel their immediate pain, but may not realize how their oral health can affect their general physical health. Research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease than those with healthy gums. They are also more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar and are at risk for pneumonia or other respiratory diseases because infection in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs. Men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers. These are scary results and additional research needs to be done before we know the relationship of gum disease and physical health, cause and effect. But, we do know how important it is to perform daily oral hygiene to keep your gums healthy.
GUM DISEASE, HEART DISEASE AND STROKE
People with periodontal disease are at increased risk of heart disease. American Heart Association studies found that poor dental health was shown to increase the risk for coronary heart disease and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). Researchers believe the inflammation of gum disease may affect the heart. It can also worsen already existing heart disease. Patients at risk may have to take antibiotics before their dental procedures.
More studies have found a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. Oral infection can create a risk factor for stroke. The AHA has concluded “Recurrent or chronic bronchial infection and poor dental status, mainly resulting from chronic dental infection, may be associated with an increased risk for cerebrovascular ischemia.”
CAUSES OF GUM DISEASE
Let’s face it, our mouths are full of bacteria, constantly forming a sticky plaque on our teeth. Good oral hygiene performed daily, consisting of brushing and flossing, helps get rid of that plaque, before it can harden and become tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by daily brushing. Only a specialized cleaning by a dental professional can remove tartar. The longer this plaque and tartar stay on the teeth, the more damage is done. Initially gums become raw, red, swollen and inflamed, and may bleed. We diagnose this as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. It can be treated and controlled by regular professional cleanings and daily brushing and flossing. Caught at this early stage, there is less chance for bone or tissue loss.
Untreated gingivitis leads to advanced inflammation around the teeth, known as periodontitis. The hardened tartar has caused gums to pull away from the teeth and created spaces, called pockets, which harbor infection. The plaque can spread and continue to grow below the gum line. The resulting infection causes the breakdown of bone and connective tissue that anchor your healthy teeth in place. Left untreated, the teeth support system of bones, gums and tissue can be destroyed. Teeth will eventually loosen and have to be removed.
COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR GUM DISEASE
Gum disease usually first appears in adults in their 30’s or 40’s. It affects men more than women. Risk factors for gum/periodontal disease include smoking, diabetes, medications that reduce mouth saliva, genetics, hormonal changes, cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses. Gum/periodontal disease symptoms include bad breath that won’t go away, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, pain when chewing, loose teeth, teeth that are sensitive to hot and/or cold, receding gums that make teeth appear longer.
GOOD DAILY DENTAL CARE CAN BE THE CURE
At AtlantaPeriodontics.com we know that addressing gum disease can save your teeth and we will help you with a treatment plan to get your mouth back to its healthy state. You can’t afford not to have good dental care when facing periodontal disease. We can work out a payment plan with you. After we work together for good oral health, it’s up to you to take your oral care seriously. Your gum disease can be healed, but going forward twice daily brushing, flossing, professional cleanings and periodontal checkups will help make your periodontal disease history.
If you are in need of tooth replacement services, please call my office today to schedule a schedule a free consultation, 404-255-9511.