Why Gum Disease Is More Serious Than You Thought
Many Americans today have some form of gum disease. While most people have the more mild form of the disease, the more serious form of this same disease still is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Besides that, gum disease also has the ability to cause more damage than most people know – simply because it can spread. Once that happens, the results are unpredictable.
About Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused because of bacteria in the mouth. In every person’s mouth, there are about 700 different kinds of bacteria. While some of it is beneficial, some of it can be harmful. The harmful kind, or bad kind, is usually kept under control by the other kinds when your mouth is healthy.
It is this bad bacterium that causes gum disease. It is the same bacteria that causes cavities and erodes the enamel on your teeth.
Once gum disease has started, it begins to be increasingly harmful. Not just to your gums, either, but to your whole body and all your health. Once the bacteria gets into your gums, it has access to your bloodstream and can go anywhere from there.
As the bacteria spreads throughout your body, it begins to cause problems everywhere it goes. It has been proven to be behind many different diseases – more than 50 of them. Among these many diseases are:
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart attack
- Respiratory diseases (COPD, pneumonia, sleep apnea)
- Infertility and impotence
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Many types of cancer
- And many more.
Recognizing Gum Disease Symptoms
In the early stages, the signs of gum disease are just bleeding gums and red or inflamed gums. While this usually does not appear to be a problem for many people – it should be. This is not normal. At this stage, it can usually be taken care of by simply brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. In spite of the ease with which it can be eliminated in the early stages, 42 percent of Americans over 30 have periodontitis.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
If gum disease is allowed to progress, that is, if you do not develop the right habits of oral health you need to control and even get rid of early gum disease, you can get periodontal disease. This is not a different disease, but the same bacteria continuing to cause more harm to your teeth and gums.
At this stage, it begins to form pockets along the gum line. The bacteria now form colonies inside the pockets. As the bacteria multiply, it turns sugar into acid. Now the acid is able to attack your gums and the structures that hold your teeth in place, as well as your jaw bone. Your teeth will start to become loose, and they may even fall out.
Risk of Gum Disease
There are several things that can raise your risk of getting gum disease. This includes the following:
- Genetics – Some people have genes that increase their likelihood of getting gum disease. This means they need to be especially careful to maintain good oral health habits.
- Smoking – Tobacco use increases your risk of periodontal disease because it reduces the flow of blood in your gums, which also reduces your immune system in your gums. This means it is easier for infection (bacteria) to grow and spread, and it will take longer to heal.
- Hormones and stress – Changes in your hormones can increase your risk of gum disease.
- Diseases and medications – Both of these things can raise your risk of gum disease.
- Lack of saliva – Saliva helps control the bad bacteria and also provides minerals and other nutrients to your teeth to strengthen the enamel.
Spreading Periodontal Disease
The cause of periodontal disease is bacterial. The bacteria are in your saliva. This means that you can give the bacteria to another person. The bacteria can be transferred to the other person through a kiss, by using the same eating utensils, or by drinking from the same glass. It may also be spread if you share the same toothbrush.
If you are healthy and your gums and teeth are in good condition, it is unlikely that you will develop gum disease from kissing someone who has it. Kissing someone may cause you to exchange up to 80 million bacteria. Normally, the good bacteria in your mouth, when your mouth is healthy, will prevent gum disease.
The people who need to be especially concerned are those who do not have good oral habits. Others with a poor immune system may also develop it. It is also possible to spread the bacteria that cause gum disease to your dog.
How to Get Rid of Gum Disease
Once periodontitis gets past the early stage, a dentist will have to help you with periodontal treatment. There are several ways to treat the disease. A dentist may prescribe some antibiotics, perform gum surgery, scaling and planing, and the jawbone may need to be strengthened.
If you need gum disease treatment or help with periodontal disease, and you live in the Carrollton, TX, Dallas TX, Cedar Hill TX or Grapevine, TX areas, you can get help from ToothHQ Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He provides dental care of all kinds for all members of the family. For more information, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (214) 731-0123.