Healthy gums are an important part of your overall dental health. If your gums aren’t healthy, you’re at risk for infection, tooth loss, and other dental problems as well. But it’s easy not to recognize the signs of periodontal disease. Too many patients either don’t notice the signs, or they mistakenly believe that certain signs are actually normal. Here are some of the things that you should know about periodontal disease so that you can take good care of your gums.
What Does Periodontal Disease Look Like?
Some symptoms of gum disease include persistent bad breath, loose or sensitive teeth, and painful chewing. You may have red or swollen gums, and they may bleed when you brush or floss. Many patients assume that it’s normal to bleed occasionally when you brush or floss, but it’s not–if you see blood on your toothbrush, you should make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible.
Gum disease also causes receding gums. In other words, your gums move to a lower point on your teeth. This can expose the tooth roots, making your teeth more sensitive and leaving you more vulnerable to root infections. If your gums are receding, you may notice that your teeth look longer than they used to, because more of them are exposed.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by a type of bacteria that occurs in dental plaque. This is why it’s so important to brush and floss regularly. Removing plaque from your teeth doesn’t just protect the teeth, it also removes the bacteria that causes gum disease.
There are also risk factors that make your mouth more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors—not only does it make you more vulnerable to gum disease, but it also lessens the efficacy of gum disease treatment. Other risk factors include diabetes, immunodeficiency disease like AIDS, certain medications, hormonal changes, dry mouth, and a family history of gum disease. If you have any of these risk factors, be especially careful to protect your gums and get screenings for periodontal disease.
How Can Periodontal Disease Affect Your Health?
Gum disease can lead to even more serious health problems if it’s not treated.
Periodontal disease is a problem in and of itself, and poor gum health also negatively affect your tooth health. However, it’s important to realize that periodontal disease can also have serious impacts on your overall physical health as well.
Gum disease is linked to several serious health conditions. It can contribute to or exacerbate heart disease, and it may also increase your risk for the kinds of strokes that are caused by blocked arteries. Patients who have diabetes and gum disease have more difficulty getting their blood sugar under control than diabetic patients who have healthy gums. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also contribute to respiratory illnesses, and pregnant patients with gum disease are at risk for premature birth.
Understanding gum disease is the first step toward preventing it. Make sure that you’re following your dentist’s instructions for cleaning your teeth and receiving regular dental checkups. Early detection can improve the success of gum disease treatment, so alert your dentist if you suspect that you see signs of periodontal disease.
Click here to request a dental check-up or call Arrow Dental Centre at 0740187579 for an appointment in our Nairobi dental office.