Elite Dental of Staten Island

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The link between gum disease and other health issues

Gum disease is a common — and often undiagnosed — condition that can lead to some serious health problems.  

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis in its severe stage, occurs when the gums become infected, leading to serious damage of the soft tissue and underlying bone that supports the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

Unfortunately, although the condition can be prevented with the right oral hygiene practices, it is an extremely common problem. Not only does the issue affect the condition of one’s smile, it is also associated with a number of serious health issues. Read on to find out more about gum disease, how it could impact your overall health, and what you can do about it…

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

When the gums are healthy, they are pale pink in color and feel firm around the teeth. If, however, a gum infection has developed, one may experience swollen gums that appear bright red or a shade of purple.

Other possible signs of periodontitis include gums that bleed easily; chronic bad breath; tenderness of the gums; loose teeth; receding gums; a noticeable change in the alignment of the teeth; and pus between the teeth and gums.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important that you see your dentist as soon as possible. Ideally, you should be seeing your dentist every six months for a routine check-up so that any potential problems can be identified early.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease typically develops as the result of plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky substance that is made up of bacteria. It forms on the teeth and gum line every time that you eat starches or sugars, and should be removed regularly with brushing and flossing.

If, however, it is left to accumulate, plaque can harden into tartar, which in turn can lead to the early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis can often be reversed with professional treatment if it is identified early enough, but if left untreated, the continued inflammation can lead to periodontitis.

How does gum disease affect your health?

Research shows that there is an important connection between oral and general health. In fact, gum disease can increase your risk of a number of serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Gum disease has also been linked to problems in pregnancy and dementia.

Because gum disease is an infection caused mainly by the build-up of harmful bacteria, the body often reacts with inflammation. If this inflammation is not resolved, it can enter the blood stream and affect other parts of the body, including the heart and brain.

How can we help?

At Elite Dental of Staten Island, we offer a range of wellness and prevention services designed to keep our patients’ smiles in the best possible condition. We urge our patients to practice proper oral hygiene on a daily basis — this includes brushing every morning and night and flossing daily.

Prevention is always better than cure, but if you have noticed any of the early signs of gum disease, such as red, swollen or bleeding gums, we encourage you to come in and see us as soon as possible. We will examine your teeth and gums and take every possible step to repair any damage and prevent the progression of the gum disease. If you would like to find out more about gum disease, its symptoms and implications, please have a look here.

If your dentist identifies active periodontal disease, they may recommend our program of non-surgical periodontal therapies. The program includes pocket measurements, gum tissue assessments and antibacterial medications. To find out more about our periodontal treatment plan, please have a look here.

To book an appointment, please contact us here or give us a call on (718) 370 1200.