- August 29, 2015
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an incredibly common affliction. If you’ve ever experienced inflammation of your gums, bleeding when brushing, puffy gums, receding gums, or a change in your gums’ color then you may be experiencing gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease!
Don’t panic – the early stages of gum disease are quite easy to treat! In fact, most cases of gingivitis can be resolved simply by more disciplined brushing and flossing habits and seeing the dentist for an exam and cleaning! You should only start to get worried if your gum disease starts to become serious.
Over time gum disease can ruin your gums and smile, leading to loosening and shifting teeth and possible tooth loss! That’s why we’re writing this blog today – to talk about the dangers of long-term gum disease and what you can do to stop it!
What Causes Gum Disease?
If you’re familiar with oral health and the problems that can arise in your mouth then this is going to sound familiar: plaque. One of the ways that plaque can harm your mouth is by sneaking below the gumline. Once that happens plaque bacteria are able to grow and thrive without the threat of the toothbrush, which lets them wreak havoc on your gums!
As bacteria grows and spreads it infects your gum tissue, leading to serious infection that can cause the gums to pull away from your teeth and become bacteria hotspots! This process continues and causes more and more damage to your gums, resulting in some pretty serious long-term effects!
As Time Goes By
Time is the most dangerous part of periodontal disease – the longer you wait without professional care the worse it will get! While gingivitis might not seem like something too serious it can quickly evolve into full-fledged gum disease and you’ll quickly begin to see serious effects!
One of the biggest long-term effects of gum disease is tooth loss. As your gums continue to recede more and more of your teeth are exposed. This can cause loosening and eventual loss, but the problem won’t stop there! One lost tooth can easily cause a domino-effect where tooth after tooth begins to loosen and fall out!
Because your teeth rely on each other for support, a lost tooth means others will start to shift to fill to gap. This will continue and your teeth will soon have nothing to support them!
The worst part of this effect of gum disease is how easily it could have been prevented! If you are showing signs or symptoms of gum disease don’t hesitate to make an appointment!
The Effects Go Beyond Your Mouth
Just because your mouth seems to be its own system doesn’t mean that’s the case – it’s as integrated with your body as any other part! Because of this close connection the effects of gum disease often ends up showing in other parts of your body!
Gum disease is, at its core, a bacterial infection. In severe cases of gum disease the infection can spread elsewhere in your body, causing conditions like:
- Heart disease: studies have linked increased rates of heart disease among patients with gum disease.
- Endocarditis: this is an inflammation of the inner portion of your heart, and is caused by bacteria. When gum disease reaches your bloodstream it’s almost a guarantee that it’s going to make it to your heart, and this could be the result!
- Stroke: studies have shown a connection between gum disease and increased stroke risk.
- Diabetes: severe gum disease can actually lead to increased blood sugar levels, a risk factor for diabetes and a danger to patients who are already diabetic!
- Osteoporosis: advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which in turn leads to shrinking bone in your jaw. This bone loss has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis all over the body!
- Chest Infections: it’s easy for oral bacteria to get inhaled into the lungs where it can grow into infections like pneumonia. In the long term continued chest infections can be severely debilitating!
What You Can Do
At the first sign or symptom of gum disease, make an appointment! Better yet, regular dental exams and cleanings can keep your mouth healthy and gum disease in check for years to come! Don’t look back years from now and wish you had taken those bleeding gums seriously – now is your chance to prevent further problems!
Call Shorewood Family Dental Care today to schedule an appointment! You can reach us at 815-768-1615 or you can request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!