Did you know that the health of your mouth could affect your overall wellbeing? In the last decade, research has consistently shown that oral health is linked to a number of systemic conditions—especially in conjunction with periodontal disease. Gum disease, a common dental condition, has been linked to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s. Our experienced dentist explains.
An Overview of Gum Disease
The onset of gum disease is difficult to detect; in fact, many patients do not experience noticeable symptoms at first. Gingivitis involves the beginning stages of periodontal disease, where the gums become irritated by plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is a sticky and slightly translucent substance that coats teeth and gums. Filled with bacteria, when plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it will inflame the gums. As plaque builds up and hardens into calculus, the condition will worsen without professional treatment and prophylaxis. Advanced gum disease is a destructive condition that is capable of eroding bone and soft tissues. It is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adulthood.
The Connection between Gum Disease and Overall Health
Gum disease can increase a patient’s risks for heart disease and immune impairment. The link between oral health and overall health is two-fold. For example, diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease and those with gum disease hold a higher risk for developing diabetes. When gingivitis advances, the gums are systemically infected. This infection could potentially reach a patient’s blood stream and cause further health complications.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best ways to prevent gum disease are to commit to visiting your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings and to adopt a thorough oral hygiene routine. Dental cleanings are important for removing tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, while checkups can detect gum disease at its earliest stages. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day, preferably at night.
To learn more about protecting your health, feel free to bring up any questions you may have at your next visit to our office. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly team today.