For such a small part of your body, it’s incredible how much of an impact your gums have on your overall health. Unfortunately, gums also tend to be easily neglected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of all U.S. adults ages 30 and over have periodontal disease. In American seniors over the age of 65, that number rises to more than 70%. Periodontal disease is also the number one cause of the loss of permanent teeth among American adults.
These numbers only tell part of the story, though. Researchers have recently learned that the health of your gums actually plays a role in the overall health of your entire body. They’ve discovered that there’s a connection between periodontal disease and other serious systemic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease. While they don’t know what the exact mechanism of that connection is yet, they’ve dubbed it “The Oral-Systemic Link,” and research is ongoing to discover the answers.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection that damages both your soft gum tissue and the bone beneath. In its early stages, it's known as gingivitis, which can be easily treated with improvement to your home oral care routine. If it progresses to an advanced form, it's called periodontitis. Once you reach this stage, the damage caused by the infection may only be reversible with oral surgery.
As you can imagine, one of our priorities at Midtown Modern Dentistry is keeping periodontal disease in check – or, better yet, preventing it altogether.
Do I Have Periodontal Disease?
Many people have periodontal disease and don’t even know it. In it’s early stages, the symptoms can be subtle. You might experience some swelling and tenderness of the gums. As the inflammation increases, you might find blood when you brush and floss your teeth.
Some patients have told us that they thought that bleeding while brushing is normal, but we want you to know that this is never normal. If you are finding blood when you brush, please let us know right away. Even if you don’t have periodontal disease, you might be brushing too hard and damaging your tender gum tissue.
Other signs of periodontal disease include:
- Persistent bad breath or an “off” taste in the mouth
- Receding gums, which can cause your teeth to look longer than usual
- A feeling that the teeth are loose
- Changes in your bite, or the way your teeth fit together
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
We have several therapies available to help keep gum disease under control, including:
Improved Home Care – This is usually the first step. Your hygienist will review your home care routine with you and look for areas that can be improved.
Antimicrobial Rinses – Rinses and other products can help to kill the bacteria that are causing the infection.
Deep Cleaning – This procedure is known as scaling and root planing. We work just beneath the gumline to remove bacteria and smooth out the surface of your roots to get rid of the places where bacteria like to attach.
We’ll discuss your options with you and provide our recommendation as to which one is right for your particular condition.
Call to Schedule Your Next Cleaning
Regular dental cleanings are one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to preventing gum disease. Please call our Altamonte Springs dental office today to schedule your next appointment.