No laughing matter
Gum disease affects over half of the American adult population. While this is an alarming statistic for some of our Onalaska patients, others often ask, “If almost everyone has it, it must not be that harmful, so what’s the big deal?” The truth is, gum disease can have serious consequences for not only your oral health, but your overall health as well.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is an oral infection caused by the bacteria that is allowed to remain on teeth and gums when proper oral hygiene is not followed. This bacteria irritates the gums to the point where they begin to pull away from the teeth, or recede. Gum recession causes deep pockets in the gums, which then become a breeding ground for the infection to advance.
What are the risks?
If a periodontal issue is allowed to progress, it can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss. There are many consequences when gum disease is left untreated, and they are not confined to your mouth. The reality of the situation is, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, and an infection of the mouth has a direct pathway to your major organs, and can wreak havoc on your systemic health.
Studies have found substantial evidence that gum disease increases your risk of serious systemic health problems and chronic inflammatory diseases, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Could I have gum disease and not know it?
Yes. One of the biggest misconceptions around periodontitis is that it is normal for gums to bleed sometimes. This is false. Your gums should NEVER bleed during regular brushing or flossing. If they do, this is a warning sign of gingivitis or early-stage gum disease. You should contact us right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
- Gum recession (teeth appear “larger” than before)
If you have any questions about gum disease, or would like to schedule an appointment at Neighborhood Smiles, please contact our office today at (608) 783-6384.