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THE MEDICAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Keeping your mouth healthy is more important than just avoiding cavities and making your smile look great — a healthy mouth equals a healthy heart. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is following several scientific studies investigating the link between gum disease and heart disease. Although gum disease does not directly lead to or cause heart disease, there is plenty of evidence to show that they are linked. In addition to heart disease, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, certain cancers, and strokes. This shows that taking care of your teeth and gums can positively impact your heart and overall health. The experienced professionals at DentalWorks – Chicago Loop offer diagnosis and treatment for periodontal disease. Learn more about the cause and symptoms of gum disease, as well as treatments and prevention tips.
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) causes inflammation in the mouth’s soft tissue. Gum disease starts when a sticky bacteria (plaque) begins to build up around the teeth. Plaque is made when starches and sugars mix with the saliva in your mouth. This process is completely natural and happens to everyone. However, the plaque should be removed when you brush, floss, and visit your dentist’s office for bi-annual cleanings. If it’s not completely removed, plaque turns into tartar, a harder substance. The tartar and plaque together cause problems like gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that bleed after brushing or flossing. If it’s not caught and stopped, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis. The second stage of gum disease, periodontitis can cause the gums to pull away from the root of the tooth, which makes the teeth feel loose. If you don’t get treatment, the infection can spread through your mouth and possibly, your entire body if it reaches your bloodstream.
SIGNS OF GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is more common than you think. Almost half of American adults have been diagnosed with some degree of gum disease. Because the first signs of gum disease don’t usually cause pain, it can be hard for you to identify by yourself. The best way to check and make sure you do not have periodontal disease is to diligently schedule and attend dental cleanings and oral health exams at your dentist’s office in Chicago, IL. It also helps to know the symptoms of gum disease, so you can be proactive and visit your dentist sooner if you notice symptoms. The first symptoms of periodontal disease are inflamed, tender, and red gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. Chronic bad breath (halitosis) is also a sign of a problem and you need to schedule a dental exam. A more serious symptom is a visible pus or a sore along your gumline. You may also have a brown buildup on your enamel near the gumline. If you think your gums are changing or your teeth feel loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for an oral health exam.
TREATING GUM DISEASE
Gingivitis is often treated with one or more scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment. During an SRP treatment, your dentist will use a special tool known as a scaler to remove debris from under your gumline. Next, your dentist will plane (smooth) the surface of each tooth to eliminate crevices where debris usually hides. Your dentist may write you a prescription for antibiotics after an SRP treatment to address any lingering bacteria in your mouth. If your gingivitis has advanced to periodontitis, your dentist may need to perform periodontal surgery to treat deeper areas of your gums than SRP therapy.
PREVENTING GUM DISEASE
Healthy gums and teeth are the foundation of a beautiful smile. To make sure you never have to deal with the consequences or symptoms of gum disease, there are several ways to reduce your risk:
HEALTHY GUMS = HEALTHY HEART
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your dental health. Find a dentist you like and schedule appointments at least twice a year to reduce your risk of gum disease and improve your oral health. Our practice in Chicago, IL has experienced, board-certified professionals who are skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating all stages of gum disease. Fight against gum disease by scheduling an oral health exam plus developing a stellar oral health regimen at home to make sure you have a gorgeous smile for life.