Periodontics: How Does Gum Disease Affect My Overall Health?

Did you know that the health of your gums not only affects your oral health but can also directly impact your overall health and wellness? That is why we, at Red Oak Smile Center, emphasize the importance of the prevention, treatment, and management of gum (periodontal) disease. We are all about long-term healthy smiles!

How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?

Gum disease usually results from the presence of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on the teeth. Without proper oral hygiene practices and preventive dental cleanings, the plaque bacteria can cause the infection and inflammation of the structures supporting the teeth, including the gums, ligaments, and bone.

Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is characterized by red, puffy, and bleeding gums. The gums begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets that house bacteria. If not treated, the condition can advance to periodontitis, which can cause further damage to the gum tissue and bone, potentially leading to tooth loss.

Gum Disease and Your Overall Health

Researchers have found that the bacteria that causes gum inflammation is also linked to health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, to name a few. So what’s behind the link? While experts can’t say for sure, they believe that the oral bacteria escaping into the bloodstream and affecting major organs exacerbates these health conditions.

Treating Gum Disease

Treating periodontal disease starts with scaling and root planing, a procedure also known as deep cleaning. Scaling is the same procedure that takes place during your regular preventive cleanings and entails the removal of any plaque and tartar deposits from your tooth surfaces and below the gumline. The additional step, root planing, involves the cleaning and smoothing out of the root surfaces to promote gum healing and reattachment to the teeth, and to discourage further bacteria and tartar build-up.

In most cases, red or swollen gums become firm and pink, while pockets become smaller after a scaling and root planing procedure. If you respond well to the treatment, you will likely not require any further intervention other than routine preventive care. If, however, your gum inflammation and deep pockets do not resolve, or if your periodontal disease is an advanced stage, you may need additional treatments, including antibiotics or surgical intervention.

Periodontal Maintenance

After treatment, you will require periodontal maintenance, which involves dental exams and cleanings every three months, or at intervals determined based on your unique needs. During your visits, we will clean your teeth, evaluate the health of your gum tissue, and measure the pocket depth and gum recession. The goal of periodontal maintenance is to manage your gum disease and keep your gums and jaw bone healthy and sound.

Minimizing the Risk of Developing Gum Disease

To keep plaque under control, make sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the bacteria present in your mouth. Make sure to schedule your preventive dental exams and cleanings regularly to keep your smile in tip-top shape.

Quality Dental Care Near Me

Contact Red Oak Smile Center in Red Oak, TX, to learn more about the prevention, treatment, or management of gum disease. We are committed to offering quality preventive services designed to keep your smile healthy and free of disease. Call us and schedule your appointment today.