THE MEDICAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Keeping your mouth healthy is bigger than just avoiding cavities and making your smile look great — a healthy mouth equals a healthy heart. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is following current research studies on the correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Even though gum disease does not directly cause heart disease, there is plenty of evidence to indicate that they are linked. In addition to heart disease, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, certain cancers, and strokes. This means that taking care of your teeth and gums can affect your heart and overall health. The experienced professionals at Waterside Dental Care offer diagnosis and treatment for gingivitis and periodontitis. Learn more about the cause and symptoms of gum disease, as well as treatments and prevention tips.
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection in the soft tissue of your mouth. Periodontal disease develops when the sticky bacteria known as plaque begins to build up around the teeth. Plaque is formed when starches and sugars mix with saliva. The formation of plaque is completely natural and happens to everyone. However, the plaque will normally be removed when you brush, floss, and visit your dentist’s office for twice yearly cleanings. If it isn't fully removed, plaque can turn into hardened tartar on your enamel. The two together (tartar and plaque) start problems including the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed after flossing or brushing. If it isn't identified and addressed, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. The next stage of gum disease, periodontitis will cause the gums to pull away from the root of the tooth, which makes your teeth loose. Without proper treatment, the infection can spread to the rest of your mouth (teeth and jawbone) and your body if it reaches your bloodstream.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL PROBLEMS
Gum disease is more common than you think. Close to half of adults in the United States show periodontal problems. Because the earliest signs of gum disease are small and not painful, it can be not easy for you to recognize. The best way to check and make sure you do not have gum problems is to diligently schedule and attend dental cleanings and exams at your dentist’s office in Richmond, TX. It's also important to know what signs to watch for, so you can get in to see your dentist earlier if you notice symptoms. The earliest symptoms of gingivitis are red, tender, and swollen gums that bleed easily when you floss or brush. Chronic bad breath (halitosis) is also a hint that you should get an examination at your dentist. A more serious symptom is a pus or a sore between your gums and teeth. You may also see a brownish colored buildup of hard deposits just above your gumline on your teeth. If you see your gums are rising or your teeth feel loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately for an examination.
YOUR OPTIONS FOR TREATING GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTITIS
Gingivitis is often treated with one or more scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment. During an SRP treatment, your dentist will use a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup out of your gum pockets. After the scaling is complete, your dentist will smooth (plane) the enamel to decrease crevices and rough surfaces where plaque and tartar typically gets trapped. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics after an SRP treatment to get rid of any lingering bacteria. If your condition has become periodontitis, your dentist may suggest periodontal surgery to address deeper areas of your gums.
TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID GUM DISEASE
Healthy gums are the foundation of a beautiful smile. If you'd like to make sure you never have to deal with the long-term consequences or symptoms of gum disease, there are several actions to reduce your risk:
- IMPROVE YOUR HABITS AND LIFESTYLE
When you eat a balanced diet that minimize the consumption of processed and sugary foods, you can reduce the development of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which decreases your chance of getting any oral health disease. Lowering your level of stress and establishing a weekly workout regimen can also help to reduce your risk of getting periodontal disease.
- ORAL HEALTH EXAMS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
Schedule appointments at your dentist twice a year for an oral health exam and professional cleanings. Dental exams give your dentist the opportunity to catch problems like gingivitis when it first appears so it is less difficult to repair. Cleanings remove built-up plaque and tartar that you can have trouble reaching at home. Frequent trips to a dentist can help you fight off gum disease as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease by receiving exams and cleanings. If you have dental fears that make it difficult to go to regular appointments, our office in Richmond, TX offers different sedation dentistry techniques to keep you calm so you can get these crucial exams and cleanings.
- AVOID TOBACCO
Adults who use tobacco products (smoking, chewing, or vaping) are much more likely to suffer from oral conditions, so you should quit right away can help lower your chance of developing periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you need help, talk to your primary care physician about smoking and other tobacco cessation treatments, such as special gum, patches, and prescription medication.
- VISIT YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
We recommend you schedule an exam at least once a year with your primary care physician to evaluate your health. Your doctor will run diagnostic tests to check if you have or are at risk for health problems. After reading your test results, your doctor can recommend ways to improve your health, which may reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Common recommendations are watching your blood pressure, being at a healthy weight, and treating your health conditions like diabetes can help you reduce your chances of getting gum disease.
KEEP YOUR GUMS AND HEART HEALTHY
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your gums. Find a dentist you trust and visit at least twice a year to prevent gum disease. Our practice in Richmond, TX has board-certified professionals who are skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease. Fight against periodontal disease by scheduling an oral health exam along with developing a stellar oral health regimen at home so you have a gorgeous smile for life.