Periodontal (gum) disease affects the majority of adults in America, yet little public awareness is raised concerning this destructive chronic condition. Aside from being the number one cause of adult tooth loss, gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of other serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and many others.
How Does Gum Disease Form?
Gum disease begins with bacteria. More specifically, dental plaque, which is an accumulation of various oral bacteria that gather at your gum line and irritate the soft tissues. This irritation can cause your gums to recede from your teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can nestle and cause further irritation and damage. One specific strand of bacteria, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, has been shown to incite your immune system’s inflammatory response, which is one main reason for the damage caused by gum disease (a telling symptom is inflammation and bleeding of the gums). If left untreated, the infection can work to destroy your gum tissue and supporting jawbone structure.
Additional Dangers of Gum Disease
When gum disease develops, the soft, infected, and sometimes bleeding gum tissue can offer a pathway for bacteria to enter into your bloodstream. As bacteria travel throughout your body, their presence can incite harmful responses in other body tissue. For instance, if P. gingivalis enters, it can cause inflammation near the heart or arteries, exacerbating or possibly causing heart disease.
Protection Against Gum Disease
The best protection against gum disease is to maintain a clean and healthy mouth. By brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, you can control the bacterial population before it can cause damage. Attending your dental checkup at least once every six months can offer further protection through deep professional cleaning and an examination to determine if there are early signs of gum disease.
ABOUT YOUR FUQUAY VARINA DENTIST:
For over 15 years, Dr. Michele Collier and the talented professionals at Waterstone Family Dentistry have provided comfortable, compassionate dental care to patients of all ages from Fuquay Varina, NC, as well as Holly Springs, Angier, Willow Springs, Raleigh, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier by calling (919) 557-5250 today.