According to a study by the CDC, more than half of American adults have some form of gum disease. As it’s not always accompanied by symptoms, you may not even realize you have it! Prevention is always best. But if you do have gum disease, early detection means easier and less-invasive treatment.
At Premier Dental of Bordentown, NJ, Dr. Hema Gopal will keep you in front of this surprisingly common scourge with regular examinations and cleanings. And if you come in exhibiting signs of disease, Dr. Gopal can bring your gums back to health. Call Premier Dental at (609) 949-5115 to schedule an appointment today!
And why is it important to keep gum disease at bay? It is a major cause of tooth loss, which results when inflammation creates pockets between the teeth and gums. More alarmingly, periodontal disease has possible associations with serious medical conditions and diseases, though further research is needed to establish the exact relationships.
- Diabetes: diabetics with gum disease may have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar than diabetics without periodontal disease. Research suggests that in severe cases, periodontal disease can even increase blood sugar, which in turn increases the likelihood of complications.
- Heart disease: gum disease has been shown in a number of studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Though the exact nature of the link is not yet known, it may have something to do with the inflammation that comes along with periodontal disease. Problems with the gums may also make existing heart disease worse.
- Stroke: people with gum disease may be at an increased risk of suffering a stroke.
- Respiratory infection: the same bacteria that causes gum disease may travel into the lungs, causing infection and even pneumonia.
- Premature birth: periodontal disease during pregnancy has been associated with premature birth and low-birthweight babies.
What Is Gum Disease, and How High is My Risk?
Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria in dental plaque, the soft, sticky substance that constantly builds up on teeth. When our immune cells attack the bacteria, they can damage gum tissue in the process. So keeping your teeth free of plaque can go a long way in protecting your gums. Unfortunately, there are other factors at play, some within your control and some not. But just being aware of personal risk can keep you ahead.
- Smoking and tobacco: smoking affects the gums in numerous ways (none good). Smokers have an increased risk of having diseased gums, and the risk is higher the more and longer you smoke. They tend to develop deeper “pockets,” increasing the likelihood of tooth loss. And smokers’ periodontal disease is often more difficult to treat.
- Crooked or crowded teeth: these make teeth more difficult to clean thoroughly, thereby making it easier for bacteria to hide out and wreak havoc. The same goes for certain types of dental work like braces.
- Genetics: if gum disease runs in your family, you should be especially vigilant.
- Pregnancy, puberty, or menopause: any sort of hormonal fluctuation can affect the mouth.
- Drugs and disease: certain types of medications and conditions (like diabetes) can make it more likely that you will develop gum disease.
Will I Know When Gum Disease Strikes?
Maybe — but likely not. Early-stage periodontal disease often sneaks up with few, if any, symptoms. However, if you experience any of the following, call Premier Dental at (609) 949-5115 immediately.
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender or that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Gums that seem to have retracted from the teeth, causing the teeth to come loose
- Chronic bad breath
- A change in your natural bite or in the fit of your dentures
- Pus in the mouth
How Do I Get Rid of Gum Disease?
The best treatment for gum disease is to keep your mouth clean so it doesn’t have a chance to take root. It’s very important to practice good oral care at home by regular brushing and flossing. Another component in keeping your gums disease-free is keeping your regular checkups with Dr. Gopal so she can clean your teeth and inspect them for signs of gingivitis. Once gum disease has been detected, treatment depends on severity.
- In its early stage (gingivitis), gum disease can usually be reversed with vigilant home care and regular dental cleanings.
- If your periodontal disease is advanced (periodontitis), a deep-cleaning process called scaling and root planing may be required.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease — or it’s time for your regular checkup — be sure to call Premier Dental of Bordentown, NJ for Dr. Gopal’s personalized and comfortable care. We can be reached at (609) 949-5115 or via web form.