What is Gum (Periodontal) Disease?
Gum disease is a serious dental health issue that can affect your general overall health.
According to the ADA it is estimated that three out of four adults over 35 have periodontal disease.
The ADA recommends that you visit a dentist immediately if you notice the following warning signs:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that appear to be pulling away or separating from the teeth
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Mouth sores
- Constant bad breath
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene which leads to plaque buildup. It affects the gums, causing redness, bleeding, and swelling. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and a commitment by the individual to maintain good oral hygiene.
If Gingivitis is left untreated it can advance to Periodontitis which is a serious gum infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Periodontitis can also increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, the bacteria can enter the blood stream attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly, therefore leading to a heart attack.
You can see the progression of gum disease in this video.
Daily brushing and flossing plus regular dental checkups – including a professional cleaning – are an essential for the prevention of periodontal diseases.