Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, affects millions of adults around the world. This disease causes bleeding, inflamed gums, but it can also lead to far more serious health threats. Researchers are discovering that inflammation and bacterial growth in your mouth can be linked to heart problems, dementia, premature birth, and other serious health conditions.
How Does Periodontal Disease Occur?
Bacteria in our mouths form plaque, a sticky substance that coats our teeth. These bacteria turn sugar into enamel-damaging acid, which can cause tooth decay. Plaque is usually cleaned away when we crush and floss, but if you aren’t cleaning your teeth often enough or doing so effectively, plaque can continue to case damage.
Plaque buildup can cause gum disease. Periodontal disease will cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and allow bacteria to attack the bone structure that supports teeth. This can lead to tooth loss, but also has been discovered to negatively impact your entire body.
Health Issues & Gum Disease
Researchers have uncovered how far-reaching the effects of gum disease, and the results may be surprising. Gum disease has been linked to major health issues, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart disease
- Premature birth
It is believed that inflammation is to common factor in these diseases. Inflammation in the mouth may cause inflammation in other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease are two conditions that often are accompanied by increased inflammation.
Periodontal disease and premature birth is still being carefully studied, since babies who are born early are at a higher risk of life-long health issues. Some studies have linked treating periodontal disease in pregnant women with an increased likelihood of carrying their infants to term. The research isn’t conclusive yet, but the early indications may point to gum disease having an impact on the next generations.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
The good news is that gum disease is very easy to prevent. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily can prevent plaque from building up. Top off your routine with an anti-microbial mouthwash to further reduce the bacteria that causes plaque.
You should also schedule regular cleanings with your dentist. This will help your dentist monitor your oral health, and they can advise you if they see the early signs of periodontal disease.
Schedule an appointment today with Austell Dental Associates to protect your smile and health! Our dentists in Austell offer a variety of dental services to care for your entire family’s oral health. We’re ready to keep your smile bright—and healthy.
Contact our team today! Call (770) 467-3888.