Teeth seem to get all the attention. When we think of an attractive smile, we think of even, pearly-white teeth. When we think of dental health problems, we tend to focus on cavities, chips, and breaks that occur in the teeth. But just as healthy gums subtly accentuate the beauty of a healthy smile, they can also be the ultimate downfall of an unhealthy smile. Today, we’re taking a close look at the serious threat gum disease poses to both your oral health and your general health.
Gum Disease Basics
Simply put, gum disease begins as an inflammation of the gums that gives way to a full on infection of the gums. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is usually characterized by gums that bleed easily after brushing or flossing. As the disease progresses, other symptoms often include foul-smelling breath, sore or sensitive gums, bright red gums, and loosened teeth. If untreated, gum disease will destroy the support structure of a tooth, causing it to loosen and fall out.
Long Term Health Risks of Gum Disease
Loose teeth and bad breath don’t bother you? Well try this on for size: untreated gum disease can also set the stage for serious health problems later in life. For example, the latest research shows a direct link between gum disease and an increased risk for cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis (hardened arteries). Gum disease is also associated with inflammatory disorders like arthritic and Crohn’s disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
Luckily, preventing gum disease is relatively simple. In most cases, this oral health problem can be prevented by practicing a consistent oral hygiene regimen at home (that means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day) complemented by regular checkups with your family dentist. Mild cases of gingivitis can even be reversed by simply adopting good oral care habits and reducing behaviors like eating/drinking too much sugar and quitting smoking.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist will probably recommend a deep cleaning, a procedure that eradicates harmful bacteria and plaque below the gum line.
ABOUT YOUR FORT WORTH, TX DENTIST:
With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact his Fort Worth, TX office today by calling 817-577-1444.