Would it shock you to learn that almost half of adults 30 years of age and older in the United States have gum disease? That’s exactly the case, according to a study that appeared in the Journal of Dental Research. Also known as gingivitis, its symptoms include swollen gums, redness, and tenderness.
It’s important to heed gingivitis’ warning signs, because more severe gum disease exacts a stiff price when it comes to your overall health and well-being, in addition to your oral health.
Dr. Ali Saeghi and the Modern Age Dentistry team treat your gum disease, no matter what its grade is, with the just-right combination of clinical expertise and warmth. At our offices in Ojai, Atwater Village, and West Hills, California, we believe that your gum health is the foundation on which we can build a strong dental foundation for you. In essence, everything starts with the state of your gums.
What causes gum disease?
The biggest cause of gingivitis is poor oral health habits — failing to brush and floss thoroughly and regularly, on a daily basis, and putting off going to the dentist. Other risk factors linked to gum disease include a diet that lacks sufficient vitamin C, teeth that are crowded or crooked, tobacco use, certain medications, and simply getting older.
Gum disease also runs in some families, and you’re more likely to be affected if you’re immunocompromised.
The alarming thing is that, when unchecked, gum disease can move from mild irritation, inflammation, and redness to severe gum sensitivity, bleeding gums, gum recession, and even tooth loss. You might also notice that your breath is bad.
It comes down to conscientious care
If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque collects on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that forms when bacteria in your mouth come into contact with sugars and starches in foods you consume. It’s critical to remove plaque from your teeth daily.
If plaque isn’t removed promptly, it morphs into tartar, which can only be removed by Dr. Saeghi. It hardens under your gumline, and bacteria continue to accumulate.
What happens next is a snowball effect of gum irritation, particularly near the base of your teeth. Tooth decay follows, and gum disease becomes advanced. This condition is known as periodontitis, and at this point, your oral health is so compromised, you can even suffer from loose teeth, and as we mentioned before, tooth loss.
Gum disease’s dangerous systemic effect
Unfortunately, the negative effects of gum disease aren’t limited to your oral health. Studies have found that people with gum disease are at higher risk for serious health conditions.
Your mouth is actually a biological microcosm all its own, containing hundreds of types of bacteria. Just as you have a microbiome in your gut — the collection of fungi, bacteria, and other genetic material unique to you — there’s also one in your mouth.
This oral microbiome is a gateway to the rest of your body. Experts used to believe that bacteria was solely to blame for the finding that gum disease is linked to many serious health conditions, but they discovered that the chronic inflammation that’s a hallmark of gingivitis and periodontitis is the major culprit.
Research shows that bacteria that go into your bloodstream from your swollen, painful gums may affect many parts of your body, from your heart to your lungs. A prolonged state of inflammation in your body isn’t good, either, and gum disease is now linked to these health conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory diseases
- Certain cancers
- Pregnancy complications
These links to disease shock and motivate many into turning around their brushing and flossing habits. However, if you have gum disease, treatments are available.
What if I have gum disease?
The good news is that gum disease can be reversed through a procedure called scaling and root planing. If your case isn’t severe, Dr. Saeghi uses this method, which deep-cleans your teeth by eradicating the bacteria surrounding your gumline and the roots of your teeth. He may also prescribe antibiotics.
Sometimes these treatments aren’t enough, and Dr. Saeghi may recommend a surgical solution. He can perform flap surgery, where he lifts your gum tissue in order to clean below it, then sutures it back together.
Another option involves Dr. Saeghi grafting bone or tissue from a different part of your mouth onto your damaged jaw or gum.
We can help treat and turn your gum disease around, so you can eliminate the worry of how it might increase your risk for serious medical conditions.
Call the Modern Age Dentistry office that’s most convenient to you and schedule a consultation, or book one online. Please note that we offer specials and discounts to new patients, so if you’re new, let us know!