Gum Disease and Your Overall Health
Tenderness, redness, maybe even bleeding while flossing - many patients have experienced these symptoms of gingivitis at one time or another. However, many patients don’t seek immediate treatment for the condition. The fact is that your dental affects your overall health. Gum disease and the bacteria that cause it can have a negative impact on other parts of your body. At Garden City Smiles, Louis J. Buono, DDS is happy to educate Long Island patients on the link between gum disease and overall health. He also offers restorative dentistry treatments to bring patients’ gums back to good health.
Why Is Gum Disease Dangerous?
To understand why gum disease is dangerous, it is important to understand how gum disease occurs. Plaque is a sticky film that contains bacteria and food particles. Plaque is known for its detrimental effect on teeth; it hardens into tartar, and causes tooth decay and cavities.
Plaque also comes into constant contact with your gums, leading to infection, inflammation, and tenderness. The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can progress into a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. When patients suffer from this advanced form of gum disease, the gums start to suffer more permanent damage and recede from your teeth. Pockets can form between the teeth and gums, and eventually the teeth may become loose or require extraction.
Not only is gum disease bad for your dental health, it can also be damaging to your overall health.
What Is the Link between Gum Disease and Medical Health?
Over the years, scientists and researchers have decisively linked periodontal disease to a number of other conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Respiratory disease
- Certain types of cancer
The link between periodontal disease and some of these conditions can be easily explained. For example, respiratory disease can occur when bacteria buildup within your gums is inhaled into the lungs.
Heart disease is one of the conditions most frequently linked to periodontal disease, with several studies determining that patients with poor gum health also have poor heart health. It is believed that the bacteria in the bloodstream may affect heart health, or the inflammation associated with gum disease could contribute to poor heart health.
Periodontal disease also poses a significant risk to expectant mothers: doctors have identified a link between gum disease and premature birth, making it exceedingly important for pregnant patients to keep up with routine dental visits and maintain good dental health.
To reduce your risk of developing gum disease, it is important to maintain good at-home oral hygienic care. Be sure to thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day, and floss daily. In addition, you may want to rinse your mouth out with water after meals and use an antibacterial mouthwash. Finally, be sure to attend routine dental exams once every six months.
Schedule a Consultation with Garden City Smiles Today
To learn more about gum disease and its effect on your overall health, contact Garden City Smiles to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buono today.