The Impact of Gum Disease on Your Health
Gingivitis—you hear the word, but what does it mean? How does gingivitis differ from periodontal disease? And, what does either of these conditions have to do with you? For starters, you need to be aware of these conditions. Both are forms of gum disease that affect people of all ages—gum disease isn’t just for old people. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease caused by a buildup of bacteria in the tissues of the mouth. It literally means inflammation of the gums and is trademarked by red, swollen gums or gums that bleed easily while brushing. Periodontal disease is gingivitis that never gets treated. The inner layer of the gums and bone pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where debris collects and becomes infected. Over time, the buildup wears away the gum line and the teeth become unstable. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and it can be prevented with proper dental care.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The primary causes of gum disease are plaque and bacteria; however, certain age and lifestyle factors can impact the levels of plaque and bacteria in the mouth, making your dental care routine imperative to keeping your teeth firmly in place.
- Hormonal changes. Researchers have found that women’s hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation can make gums more sensitive and easily lead to the development of gingivitis.
- Illnesses. Sickness and disease can affect the condition of your gums. Cancer, HIV, and diabetes are a few examples, as these patients are at an increased risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
- Medications. Certain prescription medications can affect oral health. Many of these medications can lead to dry mouth, a condition of impaired saliva production, which keeps bacteria from being consistently washed away from the teeth and gums. Anticonvulsants and anti-angina medications are just a few examples of drugs that impair saliva production.
- Poor lifestyle habits. Tobacco use—chewing or smoking—make it difficult for gum tissue to repair itself and contributes to an increase of toxins that can lead to damage.
- Dental care neglect. Failure to brush or floss on a daily basis makes it easy for bacteria to build up and cause inflammation and disease. If you skip routine dental visits, you are also leaving your mouth susceptible to bacteria that can’t be removed by brushing alone.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Gum disease can progress silently, showing few markers of disease. But, if you know what to look for, you can catch the condition before it advances to an irreversible stage. Here’s what to watch for:
- Bleeding gums during and after tooth brushing
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Chronic bad breath or foul taste in the mouth
- Receding gum line
- Noticeable formation of “pockets” between the teeth and gum line
- Teeth that are loose or shift easily
- Changes in your bite or the way your dentures fit
An absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t affected. Only your dentist can make an accurate diagnosis. Routine visits to an affordable dentist in Westminster can ensure that you prevent or get early treatment for gum disease.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Westminster, call Dental One Associates of Westminster today at (410) 970-0292 or make an appointment.
Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Westminster. With 11 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Westminster, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Westminster.