Do your gums bleed easily when you brush? Are they red and swollen? Do you have chronic bad breath? You’re not alone. Gum disease is a common inflammatory condition that affects about half of American adults. Although these symptoms can seem small and insignificant, you shouldn’t ignore them. They indicate that something serious is harming your smile. This soft tissue supports the teeth, and when the gums become infected, that support is dramatically weakened. If left untreated, gum disease eventually leads to tooth loss. This October is Oral Health Care Month, which is the perfect time to learn more about gum disease and how to protect your smile and well-being from its harmful effects.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease originates in a sticky, white substance called plaque, which forms from bacteria and food particles. Plaque attaches to your teeth, particularly around the gum line, and gives bacteria the fuel to produce toxins that irritate the gum tissue. If the plaque is allowed to remain there, it hardens or calcifies. As it continues to accumulate, more acids are produced, inflaming the gums and causing them to recede. This source of inflammation can cause harm throughout the body—not just in the mouth.
Gum Disease and the Brain
Recent studies have shown a strong connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. In fact, researchers found higher concentrations of the same bacteria that cause gum disease in the brains of those who suffer from this progressive disease. Although scientists aren’t sure yet how the bacteria accesses the brain or if inflammation is in part responsible for Alzheimer’s, results clearly indicate that controlling the microbiome in the mouth can reduce your chances of getting this incurable disease.
Gum Disease and the Heart
When the tissues are bleeding from gum disease, the inflammation-causing bacteria can easily get into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body. Several studies suggest that these bacteria can exacerbate heart-related problems in important blood vessels and arteries by causing inflammation. As a result, these patients are more likely to experience a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
The good news is that gum disease can be controlled. Although no cure exists for it, there are effective treatments that can eliminate the bacteria and restore your oral health. After treatment, strong oral hygiene can keep the infection from returning again in the future. You just need to make sure that you brush and floss every day and see your dentist twice every year for checkups and cleanings.
In the end, you can give your smile and your body in general a better chance at health if you take good care of your gums. Doing these simple things can make a significant difference and keep the bacteria in your mouth under control. Could you have gum disease? This October, schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out and get the care your smile needs.
About the Practice
In Katy, The Dental People has assembled a team of highly experienced and trained dental professionals, including a general dentist, a prosthodontist, and an orthodontist. At every checkup, they look for signs of gum disease and can provide the advanced care needed to avoid or resolve the infection. Would you like to learn more about gum disease? You can contact The Dental People by calling (281) 769-7648 or clicking here.