Left Untreated, Gum Disease Can Cause Bone Loss and Eventual Tooth Loss
What is Gum Disease?
Often referred to as periodontal disease (from Greek, peri means “around,” and odont means “tooth”), gum disease is a progressive bacterial infection which causes inflammation of the gumline and bone tissue surrounding the teeth. When gum disease goes untreated, the gums begin to pull away from your teeth. If the disease progresses, it can cause bone and, ultimately, tooth loss. Because it is often painless and its symptoms hidden, gum disease can progress to advanced stages before being detected. Thus, regular dental checkups are vital since gum disease has been linked to several other more serious illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary infections.
Stages of Gum Disease
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which may involve tenderness and some bleeding of the gums when flossing or brushing.
When left untreated, gingivitis can progress and become periodontitis. Periodontitis is a disease in which plaque and tartar form under the gums and start to cause damage to the bone and connective tissue of the teeth. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. The more severe the disease, the deeper the gum pockets.
When periodontitis reaches an advanced stage, much of the bone and ligaments surrounding the teeth are destroyed. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. It can also affect the bite and cause a chronic bad taste in the mouth.
Effects on Overall Health
In addition to wreaking havoc with your oral health, research has shown that gum disease also contributes to an increased risk for a host of systemic diseases. These ailments include heart disease, diabetes, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and high blood pressure. Dr. Ferrari eliminates gum disease thoroughly, so the toxins produced by the gum-disease-causing bacteria will no longer affect your overall health.
Signs of Gum Disease
You may be unaware of gum disease because it does not cause pain until it has progressed to an advanced stage. Symptoms include:
- Frequent bleeding of gums
- Red and swollen gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Loose teeth
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together
- Gum recession
- Possible hidden problems due to a history of smoking (as smoking constricts capillaries and prevents bleeding)
If you are experiencing any of the above, we recommend getting your gums checked as soon as possible. Call us today to schedule an exam.