Do your gums bleed when you floss? Do you have incurable bad breath?
Bacteria are always present in our mouths. When they build up and create an infection under the gums, we call it gingivitis. When that infection starts destroying bone, it’s turned into gum disease or periodontitis. Gum disease is the number one reason that adults lose their teeth! It negatively impacts the whole body, and it complicates conditions like diabetes and heart problems.
Gum disease kills. Wait, what!?
It sounds crazy until you remember that gum disease is an infection. When this infection builds up in the jaw, it can spill over into the blood. In the blood, the infection spreads through the whole body and can even infect the heart and brain. That’s scary stuff.
And did you know that tooth loss caused by gum disease can shorten your life by up to 10 years? This infection is no joke. Tooth loss shortens people’s lifespan mainly because it impacts what and how they eat. It takes teeth to chew the fresh fruits, veggies and meat that keep us healthy.
This negative diet change combined with increased inflammation from the infection, explains why gum disease also complicates diabetes control.
As the disease gets worse, the dead and dying gum and bone tissue also begin to smell, causing a form of bad breath that can be smelled across a room and that can’t be fixed with regular tricks like mints or gum. Left untreated, gum disease creates mouth misery and causes potentially life-threatening health complications.
How can you stop the damage?
The simplest answer is: Treat the infection. Gum disease is an actual disease. Once you have it, you can’t ever get rid of it. However, you can stop the damage and prevent the worst complications by treating the infection and taking proper steps to keep the infection under control. The initial phase of gum disease treatment involves specialized cleaning deep under the gums and around the tooth roots. This type of therapy is typically referred to as “Scaling and Root Planing” or “Deep Cleaning”. Deep cleaning can require several visits to cover the entire mouth and involves ultrasonic cleaning, antibiotic therapy and laser therapy to help the tissue heal. Sometimes when bone has been lost, it is necessary to surgically level the bone around the teeth for ease of care and cleaning. It can also be necessary to graft new bone and gum tissue to close holes and pockets left by infection. With careful monitoring and more frequent gum therapy cleanings, gum disease can be controlled and kept from destroying bone and loosening teeth.
Disease? But it doesn’t hurt!
Gum disease is a deceptive disease. Why? Because it normally doesn’t hurt until it’s too late. People can’t believe that bone can be destroyed without them feeling it. But that’s what normally happens. People with untreated gum disease start losing teeth and are shocked. “It never hurt!”
The explanation is simple: In the body, we only feel pain when nerves tell our brain there’s a problem. In the jaw, the nerves run deep under the gums and inside the teeth. Anyone who’s had a toothache knows about the pain receptors inside the teeth. Gum disease has to reach deep under the gums to set off the nerves inside the jaw and by the time that happens it’s too late for the teeth. If you have gum disease, treat it soon for the best outcome!
Gum Disease: Mild to Advanced
Click below to learn more about how we treat gum disease and help infections heal
The Bad News: Periodontal Disease Is Incurable
What if we told you that nearly half of adult Americans had an incurable disease…
What to do when you’ve got bacteria in your pockets?
Wait, did we just switch from dentistry to laundry advice?