How Gum Disease Impacts Your Overall Health

How Gum Disease Impacts Your Overall Health

The medical name for gum disease is periodontitis, and it’s a serious problem. If you don’t get treatment for it, you’re at risk for tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults. 

Dr. Robert Scott Nance and his staff are dedicated to helping you enjoy the best oral health possible. We want to help you avoid developing gum disease if possible and provide high quality treatment if you do. 

Your gums and your health

Nearly half (46%) of adults over the age of 30 in the United States have signs of gum disease. As your age rises, so does the likelihood you have gum disease. Among people aged 70 and older, some 70% have gum disease! 

Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which is a problem, but it can also create other health problems, some of which can become quite serious. 

If you consider the role of your gums in your body, it’s easier to understand why gum disease is so problematic. Your gums create a seal over your teeth and prevent bacteria from entering. If the seal fails, bacteria can get it and cause serious damage.

During the early stage of gum disease, which is called gingivitis, plaque builds up along your gum line. If the plaque remains, it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar contains more bacteria and is more dangerous for your health. 

Over time, the bacteria breaks the seal of your gums, and it reaches the roots of your teeth. But, you may not be aware, it doesn’t just stay around your tooth roots. Instead it can travel through your body, causing problems. 

Other areas of concern

Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature birth. That’s because once the bacteria breaks through the seal of your gums, it can get to your bloodstream. 

The same bacteria that cause gum disease have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Another increased risk is that of declined cognitive function. If you consider how close your gums are to your brain, it’s easy to see that the bacteria don’t have to travel far to get to your brain.

If you have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) already, gum disease is a real threat to your health as it increases inflammation and puts pressure on your overloaded immune system. In both diabetes and RA, you’re more likely to have both worse gum disease and worse outcomes in your overall health. 

The connection between gum disease and premature birth rates isn’t fully understood, but the fact that there is a connection is clear. If you’re pregnant or expect to be in the future, taking care of your oral health is imperative. 

What you should do

The best way to protect yourself against the potential harms of gum disease is to prevent it before it develops. If Dr. Nance tells you that you have signs of periodontitis, take action. Gum disease is reversible, and the earlier you get treatment, the better off you’ll be.

If your gums are tender or bleed when you brush, Dr. Nance may suggest a deep cleaning to get rid of the plaque that’s building up along your gum line so that your gums heal and seal properly.

If you have more advanced gum disease, Dr. Nance may suggest a procedure called scaling and rooting. This treatment prevents the progression of the disease by getting rid of the plaque and tartar that have breached the seal of your gums. 

Don’t take unnecessary risks with your health. The best defense against gum disease is twofold: an excellent oral hygiene routine at home and regular visits to Dr. Nance. Schedule your appointment today, and keep your gums healthy. 

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