What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease begins with the formation of hard and soft deposits on the surface of the teeth. Over time, a build-up of bacteria (plaque) collects at the gum line, eventually hardening on the teeth into calcium deposits (tartar).
Without proper oral care these bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), penetrate the gum line, and finally spread into the underlying bone (periodontitis). Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to complete destruction of the tooth's supporting tissues, abscesses and tooth loss.
The warning signs of gum disease include:
According to some estimates, as many as 75% of adults over the age of 30 may suffer from some degree of gum disease. However, with proper oral care gum disease can be controlled or even reversed.
Gums and Overall Health
We all know that prevention is one of the keys to maintaining overall health.
We exercise and watch what we eat to help reduce our risk of heart attack, stroke and certain cancers. In much the same way, we should take good care of our oral health in order to prevent gum disease and tooth loss.
Why is this so important? The reasons are much more than cosmetic. While we once believed the worst outcome of gum disease was tooth loss, we now know that oral health matters from head to toe.
Periodontal (gum and bone) disease may be a risk factor for a number of serious health conditions. In recent studies, gum disease has been linked to:
What Can You Do?
If you suffer from or are at risk for 1 or more of these health conditions, it is particularly important to pay attention to you oral health. The good news is that with regular, proper oral care, gum disease can be controlled or even reversed. Visiting your dental hygienist on a regular basis is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain or improve you oral health.
Here's what you can expect from your dental hygienist:
Less than 5 minutes, twice a day, is all it takes to maintain or improve oral hygiene. It's never too late - or too early - to develop good habits. And remember: visit Dr. Phil Nasralla at least twice a year for thorough check-ups.