Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissues which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. It can affect anyone, and the primary cause is plaque. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins which irritate the gums.
The gums can turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces). Plaque can also harden to form calculus, both above and below the gum line.
As gum disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place deteriorates. If left untreated, the teeth become loose and eventually have to be taken out. This not only changes the ability to chew or speak, it also impairs the smile.
One very important thing to note is that there is usually very little pain associated with gum disease until it becomes advanced (periodontal disease or periodontitis)
Adults after the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than from cavities.
Three out of four adults have gum disease at some point in their life.
The best way to prevent gum disease is good oral hygiene i.e. brushing and flossing and seeing a dentist regularly (usually every 6 months) for a professional examination and cleaning.
At white cross Hornsby dental, our team is here to help improve your smile and the health of your gums and teeth.
We use ultrasonic and hand instruments to remove deposits from above and below your gum line; if you have very sensitive teeth, we can administer local anaesthetic to numb the area while the procedure is performed.
We will emphasise on what areas you need to focus on, to prevent future problems and a hygiene interval that suits your particular needs.
Research has proved there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Infections and bacteria in the mouth can spread throughout the body and lead to a host of problematic health issues.
Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene and reducing the progress of gum disease through treatment can also save you from the chance of developing another serious condition.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Research has shown people with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-diabetics. Diabetes suffers are more susceptible to all types of infections, including periodontal, due to the fact it slows down blood circulation, allowing bacteria to colonize. Diabetes also reduces the body’s overall resistance to infection.
Smoking and tobacco use is detrimental to anyone’s oral health, but it is particularly harmful to diabetics.
It is very important for everyone to brush their teeth effectively, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly, but is especially essential that diabetics practice these measures.
Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke
Patients with oral conditions are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those with healthy mouths. Periodontal disease is also known to exacerbate existing heart conditions and increase risk of strokes.
One of the causes of the connection between periodontal disease and heart disease is oral bacteria entering the blood stream. Some of these bacteria attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries, which leads to clot formation and increased risk of heart attack.
Enacting positive oral hygiene practices and getting treatment for gum problems can help prevent the risk of developing heart disease
Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy
Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes in women, which increases the likelihood of developing gum inflammation. These oral problems have been linked to preeclampsia as well as premature birth.
If you are pregnant, it is important to practice high standard of oral hygiene and treat existing gum problems to best protect you and your baby.
There are many safe, non-surgical treatment options available for pregnant women. The risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by as much as 50 %, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with gum disease.
Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common condition in older patients, and particularly women that is characterized by loss of bone density over time.
The inflammation from gum disease weakens bones and makes it more prone to break down. This can lead to loose teeth and their eventual loss. This is why periodontitis can be particularly detrimental and progressive to patients with osteoporosis.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is extremely important to take preventative measures against gum disease to protect your teeth and jaw bones.