Gum Disease – Serious Business

One of the most preventable oral diseases, gum disease, is present in 75{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} of Americans. It often goes undetected until significant symptoms begin to arise, but it can be present for some time, causing small irritations or discomforts that some people pass off as insignificant. Minor bleeding while brushing or flossing may not seem to be much cause for alarm, but this can be one of the first signs of the beginning stages. At this stage gum disease is still easily treated, so if you are exhibiting these symptoms a visit to the dentist is in order.

Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, can progress to periodontitis, during which gum tissues separate from teeth and form a periodontal pocket where oral bacteria, plaque and tartar collect. The collection of these substances causes gums to become inflamed and irritated, eventually receding and causing teeth to become loose. Seeking the help of a dental professional to clean away the accumulation of plaque and tartar is necessary to achieve any recovery from more advanced periodontitis. Once plaque hardens into tartar it is not possible to clean it by simply brushing. A dental scaling will be necessary to remove it. In cases of advanced gingivitis a deep periodontal cleaning performed by a periodontist may be required.

It is very important not to leave gum discomfort untreated. Aside from the oral health ramifications, these issues can have a serious impact on your physical health as well. Pregnant women who are suffering from gum disorders have been shown to deliver premature babies with low birth weights. It is presently unknown exactly what the cause of this link between gum discomfort and pregnancy complications is, but it is theorized that fetal growth may be inhibited by the presence of the resulting bacteria. Greater complications can result if the expectant mother is also diabetic.

Diabetes is a complication of gingivitis as well. Because of their higher blood sugar levels, diabetics have a much higher risk of developing gum disease. Sugars in the mouth feed on the oral bacteria to form plaque. With higher blood sugar levels, more sugar will be present in the mouth which leads to a greater accumulation of plaque. Diabetics in general are more susceptible to infections, including those of the mouth. In addition, blood sugar levels can be more difficult to control in the presence of gum disease due the bacteria that travel to other parts of the body and the widespread inflammation that ensues.

Preventing gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene habits through the use of proper brushing and flossing methods is a key essential in ensuring good physical health.

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