If you’ve only heard of gum disease through commercials for dental hygiene products, or as a hypothetical concern from your dentist, then you might not take it too seriously. Even if you’re told you have it, you might think buying a new brand of mouthwash will make it all okay. However, gum disease is a lot more serious of a condition than you might realize, and having it can lead to significant consequences for your oral health.
It’s more serious than you might realize
Gum disease, which is more formally known as periodontal disease, is a chronic condition that affects the periodontal tissues (gums) that cover your dental ridges. It starts with an excess of dental plaque – the buildup of oral bacteria and food particles – on your gum line, hence the reason good hygiene is such a strong focus for preventing it. These humble beginnings can make it surprising to some patients to learn how extreme gum disease can become – in its severe stage, known as periodontitis, the disease is the most frequent cause for adult tooth loss.
It gets worse if you wait to treat it
A lot can happen between the time that you first develop gingivitis and the time it gets severe enough to cost you one or more teeth. If you or your dentist notices the signs of early gum disease, or gingivitis, then you have a good chance of treating it before it causes significant damage. However, the condition is progressive, and the longer you ignore it or postpone treating it. This makes sticking to a routine schedule of preventive checkups and cleanings all the more important. If you miss the signs on your own, then your dentist will be able to see them and recommend treatment as soon as possible.
It can affect more than you would expect
Realizing that gum disease could become your greatest threat of tooth loss is significant, but it’s not the worst thing about severe gum disease. The driving force behind the damage that it causes is unchecked inflammation in your gum tissues. This is caused by microbes produced by certain oral bacteria, of the species Porphyromonas gingivalis, which alter your immune system’s ability to control inflammation. This same inflammatory reaction can cause significant health problems when the bacteria enter the bloodstream through diseased gum tissues. For some patients, it can even raise their risks of experiencing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and more.
Learn what to do about gum disease
If you’ve got gum disease, then treating it as soon as possible matters immensely to your immediate and long-term oral health. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Peddicord Family Dentistry in Ankeny, IA, today at (515) 963-3339. We also proudly serve patients of all ages who live in Bondurant, Polk City, Elkhart, Alleman, Cambridge, and all surrounding communities.