Serious health risks
Gum disease is reaching epidemic quantities in America. Over half of the adult population is suffering from gum disease, and an alarming number of cases remain undiagnosed. What many patients don’t realize is that the dangers of gum disease reach much deeper than just your gums and oral health. Gum disease left untreated can have serious implications on your overall and systemic health. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment before it progresses.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is a common chronic oral disease affecting the gums, teeth, and oral health. Left untreated, gum disease can drastically increase your risk of serious systemic health problems including cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Gum disease is caused largely by poor oral hygiene – plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth and gum line turns into tartar, which irritates the gums to the point where they begin to recede. Certain factors increase your risk of gum disease including:
- Tobacco use
- Certain medications
- Crooked teeth
- Missing teeth
- Ill-fitting oral appliances or restorations
What does gum disease look like?
- The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. This early stage is characterized most often by gums that bleed during regular brushing and flossing. One common misconception we would like to put to rest is that it is normal for gums to bleed. This is false. Bleeding gums is a warning sign of gum disease and should be addressed immediately. Gums may also appear red, puffy, or swollen. You may also notice an unpleasant or metallic taste or odor in the mouth.
- Gingivitis left untreated will advance into periodontitis, in which the gums will actually begin to recede, or pull away from the teeth. Left untreated, gum recession forms deep pockets which become breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Eventually the gums will recede to the point where the teeth become lose and ultimately fall out. Tooth and supporting bone loss is a serious and irreversible consequence of gum disease left untreated.
- Unfortunately the consequences of periodontitis don’t stop with your oral health. Gum disease increases your risk of serious systemic health problems including:
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory disease (pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema)
- Pre-term childbirth
If you have noticed any of the signs or symptoms of gum disease, please don’t wait for the infection to progress. The consequences are serious and irreversible. Early detection is key in maintaining optimum oral and overall health. The best way to combat gum disease is to maintain your oral hygiene at home by regular brushing and flossing, and keeping your regular appointments with your Fuquay-Varina dentist.
If you have any questions about gum disease, or would like to schedule an appointment with your Fuquay-Varina dentist, Dr. McCormick or Dr. Meuiner at Fuquay Family Dentistry, please contact our office today at (919) 230-8388.
Looking for a dentist in Holly Springs? You’re in luck! Our office is conveniently located just ten minutes away, and you can schedule your appointment online!