Gum Disease and Your Overall Health: Know the Risk
Dr. Nan Rosas and the entire staff at Rosas Family Dentistry treat our Clear Lake, TX area patients as if they are family. We not only care for your dental health but your overall health as well. We provide the highest quality dental care as well as a strong focus on prevention of decay and gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, often referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection involving the gingival tissue that surround the teeth and the bone tissue that support them. Gum disease is the number one cause for tooth loss today and effects about half of the population over the age of 30.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath
- Swollen gum tissue
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Noticeable tartar buildup
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
Any number of these symptoms may be caused by the progression of gum disease.
Gum disease, in most cases, is a painless process. You may have it and not even know it. As plaque and tartar accumulate on your teeth, your gum tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. Inflammation of the gum tissue is referred to as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can easily progress to periodontal disease and become a much more dangerous situation.
Gingivitis causes the gum tissue to loosen the attachment to the teeth. This allows more bacteria and plaque to accumulate. Over time, an infection forms in the gum tissue and begins to attack the jaw bone that supports your teeth. Periodontal disease, when left untreated, can cause irreversible damage to your bone and the loss of teeth.
How Does Gum Disease Relate to Your Health?
Because gum disease is an infection, your blood stream is able to carry that infection throughout the entire body. Studies have proven that the bacteria found in gum disease is the same bacteria found in the arteries of patients with heart disease. The combination of gum disease and heart disease will greatly increase your risk for suffering a heart attack or stroke and can also affect artificial heart valves. Any infection in your blood stream can also travel to artificial joints, causing possible failure.
Inflammation in your body can lead to higher blood glucose levels, which can contribute to diabetes. Diabetes affects approximately 34 million Americans. When gum disease is left untreated, diabetes becomes more difficult to manage.
Your body’s immune system will try to fight the infection of gum disease, sending more immune cells to your mouth. Because of this, your body won’t be able to respond to other threats as effectively. Patients that are undergoing treatment for immune compromising diseases such as cancer are at a higher risk for complications when gum disease is present.
How To Treat Gum Disease in the Houston area
Once periodontal disease has been diagnosed, the first step in treatment is a scaling and planing of the root surface. This involves the use of special instruments to remove all plaque, tartar and bacteria from below the gumline. A smooth root surface is created to prevent further accumulation of bacteria. Local anesthesia will be necessary and often times multiple appointments are needed. In some more severe cases, periodontal surgery is required and performed by a specialist. Periodontal surgery is more invasive and a longer recovery time is expected.
Once all bacteria and infection have been removed, your gums will heal and can potentially reattach to the tooth surface. While your gum disease is stable at this point, frequent periodontal cleanings are necessary to prevent infection from reoccurring. Periodontal disease is a constant battle.
Prevention is Key
The best way to fight gum disease is by preventing it! Good home care including brushing and cleaning between the teeth daily is necessary. The dental professionals of Rosas Family Dentistry recommend brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush for two minutes, twice daily. Because your toothbrush cannot effectively clean between the teeth, the use of floss or a water flosser is also recommended.
Frequent dental cleanings and exams are also necessary to prevent gingivitis and gum disease. During your professional dental cleaning, our highly skilled dental hygienist will carefully measure your gum tissue and clean all plaque, bacteria and tartar from the teeth as well as provide any other recommendations to improve your home care regimen.
Schedule Your Next Preventative Care Visit Today
Our conveniently located Clear Lake, TX offices serve the League City, Webster, Seabrook, Friendswood, Kemah, and NASA areas. Let our highly skilled and trained staff treat you like family in a comfortable environment. We value the fact that your overall health is directly related to your dental health and we make you a priority. If you are looking for a dentist that provides the highest quality dentistry and cares for your family, contact Rosas Family Dentistry in Clear Lake, TX today.