Gum Disease Can Kill You!
For quite some time, there’s a topic that we’ve been wanting to address. It’s something that has become important enough to us and our patients that we decided to take a moment to hopefully educate readers about this very important issue.
We recently watched a video of Whoopi Goldberg where she’s explaining her unplanned absence from the hit TV show, “The View”. As it turned out, she took time off because she needed to have emergency gum surgery. Whoopi discusses her personal experience with gum disease, explaining that she will be losing all her teeth. Her message was clear: gum disease can kill you!
Recent studies all point to the connection between gum disease and things like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. Whoopi provided a major public service by discussing this issue, and addressing the health consequences that go well beyond just losing your teeth.
First of all, we think that you should know the warning signs of gum disease, also known as Periodontal Disease. Gum disease is often silent, by which we mean that symptoms may not begin to appear until you are in the advanced stages of the disease. Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Your gums are red, swollen, or tender
- Your gums bleed while brushing or flossing
- Your gums have receded
- Your tooth feel as if they are loose, or appear as though they’re separating
- There is pus between your gums and your teeth
- You have chronic bad breath
- Your teeth feel different when you bite together
- Your partial denture feels like it doesn’t fit the same anymore
Periodontal Disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects not only your gums, but also the bones which supports your teeth. It all starts when the bacteria from plaque in your mouth causes your gums to become inflamed. This mild form of the disease, Gingivitis, is reversible, and can be easily taken care of by proper dental hygiene care at home in tandem with professional cleanings.
Untreated Gingivitis, however, can advance to Periodontal Disease, which is when things become much more serious. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque stimulate a chronic inflammatory response which causes your body to, in essence, turn on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and damaged. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and the bone around the teeth actually starts to be destroyed. This active bacterial infection is also able to gain access to your bloodstream. This is how the disease starts to invade your entire body.
If that wasn’t enough to persuade you to take care of your mouth, how about this disturbing fact: Periodontal Disease affects the a mass of tissue in your oral cavity equivalent to the size of skin of your arm from the wrist to the elbow! That’s a lot of tissue.
As dental professionals, we know you don’t always have the time to come in for regular cleanings. We understand. But we care about you and want you to be as healthy as possible. With regular cleanings, your oral health can be monitored and maintained!