Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease are the two forms of gum disease. Did you know studies show 3 out of 4 Americans today suffer from one of the stages of gum disease? This common condition often goes unnoticed in its early stages if a patient is not maintaining regular dental exams. If left untreated for too long, your oral health can experience devastating repercussions such as gum loss and tooth loss. The American Dental Association attributes Periodontal Disease as the number one cause of tooth loss for Americans today.
Studies show gum disease is linked to a myriad of serious health issues, including heart disease, complications regarding diabetes, respiratory problems, and low birth weight babies.
The University of Minnesota found that people with gum disease are four times more likely to suffer from Heart Disease. The bacteria from the infection in your mouth can enter your bloodstream, potentially causing blood clots that could even result in a heart attack. This has also been linked to the potentially fatal disease Infective Endocarditis, which can cause inflammation in the sac surrounding your heart.
Scientists have linked this to the bacteria constantly breathed into the lungs from the Periodontal Disease.
Low Birth Weight Babies
A study conducted in 1996 at the University of North Carolina showed that mothers with Periodontal Disease were seven times more likely to deliver pre-term.
- Gums that appear red, swollen, and/or tender
- Gums that bleed during or after brushing and/or flossing
- Bad breath that isn’t relieved by mouthwash or other techniques
- A sudden change in the way your bite feels
- Teeth that suddenly appear longer (this is a sign of receding gums)
Scaling and Root Planing
We emphasize conservative periodontal therapy. Many times, early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with nonsurgical periodontal therapy. The first step is usually a thorough cleaning where plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Four to six weeks later, periodontal pockets are eliminated due to gum shrinkage. Then the patient can personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing and regular maintenance appointments every 3 months with your dentist hygienist.
Malissa Kidd, RDH