Learn the Facts About Gum Disease
“Your teeth look good, but I’m concerned about your gums.” Perhaps this is something you’ve heard your dentist advise you. But what exactly is gum disease (periodontal disease), what are the risks of acquiring it, and how can it affect your systemic health? It has long been established that a person’s health starts with oral health care. When dental health is neglected often the rest of the body follows suit.
Gum disease develops when plaque and tartar build-up in the gums. Those bacteria then release toxins that infect gum tissue and bone structure. Eventually, bone loss develops around teeth, there are chronic inflammation and even tooth loss.
Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, pain when chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, and red and receding gums. Young people may not show any of these signs. Notably, periodontal disease often can be a slow forming and insidious disease that patients can not perceive having, as it can even have minimally associated discomfort. Thus a thorough exam by your dentist is crucial in identifying this disease.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease is common in the US. According to the CDC ***:
Several factors increase the risk of acquiring periodontal disease:
- 47% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease increases with age as 70% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
- Men are more susceptible than women (56.4% vs 38.4%)
- Statistics show that up to 65% of individuals living below the federal poverty level and 67% of those with less than a high school education are more inclined to develop periodontal disease.
- Nearly 2/3 of smokers, (64%) have periodontal disease.
Once gum disease begins, it may lead to other serious medical issues:
- Pneumonia may result due to gum disease. Gum infection triggers the immune system to stay on high alert and ensures a body-wide inflammation, including the airways and lungs.
- Heart Disease. Patients with gum disease are more prone to heart disease as it affects blood pressure and disrupts hypertension medications.
- Diabetes. Sugar is a bacteria nest. When eating too much sugar, the high glucose help the germs attack teeth and gums. This leads to gingivitis. Gum disease also increases blood sugar levels which may lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
- Alzheimer’s/Dementia. The bacteria in gum disease is also found in an Alzheimer’s patient’s brain. If gum disease is prevented, the chance of having Alzheimer’s decrease.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis patients have the same bacteria. Gum disease makes the immune system overactive, causing joint inflammation which leads to Rheumatoid arthritis.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease may be the first domino in a major breakdown in the body. If you have any of the symptoms above, contact your dentist and get a checkup right away. Your dental health is crucial to your overall health.
If you suspect that you have gum disease, call Fallsgrove Center for Dentistry in Rockville, MD, for an appointment with one of our experienced dentists. We will give you a thorough examination and make any necessary recommendations to improve your dental health. Our number is (301) 610-9909. You may also contact us by email at email@example.com. We observe all COVID-19 protocols.
*** The report can be seen on the CDC website.