Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is common among adults. It affects around half of people aged 30 and older and more than 70% of those over 65. However, despite being common, periodontal disease can be a serious problem if left untreated.
The team at Goodman Dental Center in Queen Creek, Arizona, has years of experience treating even advanced cases of periodontal disease. Read on to find out the risks of periodontal disease and how you can prevent it.
Periodontal disease is often the result of infection and inflammation of your gums. Bacteria from food build up on your teeth forming a hard substance called plaque between your gums and teeth. If you don’t remove it through regular oral hygiene and frequent professional dental cleanings, this plaque can cause gum infections.
In the earliest stages, periodontal disease is called gingivitis. While it causes your gums to become tender and even bleed, you can reverse periodontal disease if you treat it early. However, as it progresses, it can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth and even cause them to fall out.
The effects of periodontal disease can often develop beyond the teeth and gums. Researchers have found associations between periodontal disease and cardiovascular issues, possibly due to the chronic inflammation caused by gum disease. Plus, the bacteria in your mouth can make you more susceptible to heart disease, blockages in your arteries, and strokes.
Gum disease has also been linked to type 2 diabetes. Having one condition makes the other more difficult to control. Diabetes may lessen your ability to fight off infection, and infection can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar.
Rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease that affects your joints) has also been associated with periodontal disease. Further, periodontal disease can increase the likelihood of an early delivery for pregnant women, which increases the risk of a baby being born preterm and having a low birth weight.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice regular at-home dental hygiene (brush twice a day, floss once a day) combined with regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning.
If you already have periodontal disease, there are treatments to help. Scaling and root planing are deep cleanings that can remove the plaque between your gums and teeth, allowing your gums to reattach to your teeth. More advanced cases of periodontal disease may require surgery to treat.
If your gums are tender and bleed when you brush, these are the beginning signs of periodontal disease, so you don’t want to put off your dental visit any longer. Protect your oral health by calling Goodman Dental Center or scheduling an appointment today with our online booking tool.