Gum Disease – 5 Things You Need to Know, Tooth HQ Gum Specialists, DFW, Texas

Why You Should Prevent Gum Disease

Many people today have gum disease and do not yet know it. Although the symptoms involve bleeding around the gums when you brush or floss, which may seem minor, it can later cause you to lose teeth. Even worse is that it also has a much more serious potential to hurt your appearance and overall health. About half of the adults in the United States already have the more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. 

Before you decide to ignore your gum disease or decide it is not significant enough to bother trying to prevent it, there are 5 things you should know. Most likely, they will change your mind.

 

  1. Gum Disease Can Become Periodontitis

The initial stages of gum disease are called gingivitis. The symptoms are that your gums will appear to be inflamed and they will bleed when you brush or floss them. At this stage, you can usually eliminate it simply by brushing two times a day and flossing.

If you ignore it, it can become periodontitis. This is the serious stage. When this stage is reached, the bacteria that cause gum disease have gained access to your gums and an immune reaction has started. Your immune system starts attacking your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth, and your jawbone. Periodontitis is the major cause of tooth loss among adults today. 

 

  1. Gum Disease Can Cause Loss of Teeth

As the tissue and bone are attacked, they literally dissolve. The process is nearly painless until you reach the more advanced stages. As periodontitis becomes worse, you will likely notice the following signs of gum disease:

  • More red and inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets developing on the gums
  • Teeth pulling away from gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Spaces developing between teeth
  • Pain when you bite or chew
  • Teeth becoming loose
  • Teeth possibly falling out. 

 

  1. Gum Disease Increases Risk of Cognitive Decline

Studies have connected periodontitis and the loss of teeth with Alzheimer’s disease. The bacteria behind periodontitis – porphyromonas gingivalis – have been found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Other studies have also shown that other active bacteria in periodontitis helps to form beta-amyloid, which is known to be behind cognitive decline. 

  1. Gum Disease Increases the Risk of Cancer

Most often, those who develop periodontal disease are going to be men. Only about 38 percent of cases involve women. Among the women who had periodontitis, it has been found that their risk of cancer is increased. They have a 14 percent increased risk of developing any type of cancer. 

The most common type is esophageal cancer. Women who have periodontal disease are three times more likely to develop this kind of cancer than those who do not have this gum disease. This type of cancer normally spreads fast and is often not detected until it has reached the advanced stages. 

Periodontal disease also raises the risk of getting cancer for men considerably. Having gum disease raises men’s risk by 49 percent of getting kidney cancer, and 54 percent of getting pancreatic cancer, etc. 

 

  1. Gum Disease Should Be Treated Early

In addition to cancer and cognitive decline, periodontitis has also been found to be behind the formation of many other diseases – some potentially fatal. Other diseases include cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and more. 

The good news is that gum disease can be treated. If you have gingivitis, which has only two symptoms: bleeding gums when you brush or floss, and inflamed gums – then you can eliminate it on your own. All you need to do is to brush twice a day and floss. 

If you have periodontitis, you need to go to a dentist for periodontal treatment. Depending on the severity of gum disease, removing periodontitis may involve non-surgical or surgical methods. One of the most common non-surgical methods is called scaling and root planing. This process involves removing the bacteria and inflammation from the pockets that have formed on the gums and smoothing the teeth to help prevent colonies from getting re-established on your teeth.  

 

How to Reduce the Risk of Gum Disease

The primary way to reduce your risk of getting gum disease is to maintain good oral habits of brushing and flossing. A lack of good oral care is the main cause of gum disease because it enables the bacteria to multiply more in the oral cavity and produce acid which irritates the gums. Other ways to reduce the risk of gum disease include:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • After brushing, use an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Get plenty of vitamin C
  • Control diabetes
  • Eat healthy
  • If you grind your teeth, protect them with teeth guards while you sleep.

If you already have gum disease and need periodontal disease treatment for it, ToothHQ Board Certified Periodontists, can provide it for you. We treat gum disease at all levels and gum recession treatment in our offices at Carrollton, Cedar hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX offices. Our office accepts most forms of dental insurance