Gum disease can be a serious health issue
Gum disease is very common in North American. Over 75% of adults in Canada and the US have some form of gum disease. When gum disease is left untreated, it can escalate into periodontal disease.
At this stage, bacterial toxins and your body’s response to it begin to destroy the bone and tissues that hold your teeth in place, causing your teeth to become loose or, in severe cases, requiring your teeth be be removed.
What causes gum disease?
Essentially, plaque, and the bacteria that comes along with it is what causes gum disease. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth. If it isn’t removed with regular brushing, flossing, and dental hygiene treatments, the gums can become inflamed. This is the early stage of gum disease.
Gum disease can sneak up on you because there are relatively few signs of it in this early stage, called gingivitis. That’s why it is so important to schedule regular dental check-ups. Dentists and dental hygienists check for gum issues as a routine part of your dental exam and cleaning.
What’s the risk?
Untreated gum, or periodontal disease compromises your oral health. Gingivitis is relatively simple to treat, because it only affects your gums. Your bone and connective tissues have not been harmed yet. Symptoms to watch out for are tender, swollen gums, and persistent bad breath.
Treatment for gingivitis consists of removing the source of inflammation with diligent brushing, flossing and the help of your dentist who can remove plaque that is too dense for your toothbrush to tackle.
If gingivitis is ignored or is not diagnosed, it can progress to a more serious condition known as periodontitis. At this stage, the bacteria has caused infection. As your immune system kicks in to fight the infection, the bone and connective tissues that keep your teeth in place can be damaged.
This causes your gums to recede away from your teeth, and spaces called “pockets” begin to form at the gumline. Eventually, if periodontal disease is left untreated, the jawbone, gums, and the tissues that support the teeth are destroyed. Loose teeth, teeth that have to be removed, can be the end result.
Safeguard your health
Gum disease often sneaks in undetected even though your are a diligent with your at home oral care regime. That’s why it is so important to seek regular dental care.
Your dental hygienist deep-cleans the nooks and crannies of your mouth, where plaque hides and builds up, while your dentist’s keen eye is trained to spot gum disease in its early stages. With specialized diagnostic tools, and access to oral health tests, your dentist is an invaluable resource in your oral health program.