When you grin, it’s those gleaming pearly whites that people notice. But while your gums may not be glamorous, they are just as important to the health and appearance of your smile as your teeth. Not only that, but there’s been a lot of research recently focusing on gum health. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that gum disease is associated with several systemic health problems.
Excellent oral hygiene and dental visits every six months are important for keeping your gums and teeth in the best shape possible. If you live in the Albuquerque, NM area, call Uptown Dental Associates at 505-407-8781 to book a cleaning and exam.
The Two Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria. It’s generally divided into two stages. Gingivitis is early-stage disease. Left untreated, it will progress into the much more serious periodontitis. This is something that should concern everyone, as gum disease is extremely common. It afflicts half of Americans over the age of 30, and about 70% of Americans over the age of 65.
And the consequences can be dire.
- Periodontitis, not tooth decay, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
- Periodontal disease appears to increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. This may be due to oral bacteria escaping into the bloodstream and causing inflammation of the blood vessels and heart.
- Diabetics are much more likely to have gum problems than non-diabetics. And periodontal disease may make it more difficult for them to keep their blood sugar under control
- Gum disease has also been linked to stroke, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and some cancer.
Know Your Risk
The following factors may increase your chances for developing an infection of the gums:
- Smoking or the use of chewing tobacco.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Age: your risk increases as you get older.
- A family history of gum problems.
- Stress may decrease your ability to fight infection, plus it may cause you to clench or grind your teeth.
- A diet low in nutrients.
- Pregnant women are at risk for gum problems triggered by hormones — pregnancy gingivitis.
Watch for These Symptoms
If you notice any of the following symptoms, get in touch with Uptown Dental Associates right away.
- Gums that are tender, abnormally red, swollen, or that bleed when you eat or clean your teeth.
- Gums that are receding, or pulling away from your teeth, exposing the tooth roots.
- Pus in the mouth.
- Bad breath that won’t go away.
- A change in your bite, or how your teeth come together.
- Sores in the mouth.
- Teeth that are coming loose.
- A change in the way your dentures fit.
Keep in mind that gingivitis often begins with no symptoms at all — so regular dental exams are critical for early detection.
How We Treat Your Periodontal Disease
When it comes to treating gum disease, the earlier we catch it the better. If you have gingivitis, you will likely be able to bring your mouth back to health with just regular dental cleanings and good oral hygiene at home.
If your disease has progressed, we can use our state-of-the-art and minimally invasive dental laser to remove infected tissue. We can also perform a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing.
If you are due for your six-month checkup or have noticed gum disease symptoms, schedule an appointment at Uptown Dental Associates. You may get in touch with us online or call our Albuquerque, NM office at 505-407-8781.