Most people pay attention to the health of their teeth. Your gums are just as important, not only to the health of your mouth but to your overall health. Preventing gum disease is key.
The parts of your teeth above the gum line are covered by dental enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. Barring accidents, that enamel is a very effective barrier against the many, many bacteria that live in the mouth. Your gums surround your teeth, helping to stabilize them and protecting the vulnerable parts below from dangerous bacteria.
As long as you take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing thoroughly and flossing regularly, all should be well. Where most people fall down is by skipping brushing and flossing too often. That allows dental plaque to get a foothold, so to speak.
The bacteria in the mouth are usually washed off the teeth and gums by saliva and beverages. But some bacteria combine with a protein in saliva to form plaque – a thin, sticky, invisible film that collects on gum line around the teeth. That keeps the bacteria in close contact with the dental enamel.
Those bacteria feed off the sugars in our food and secrete toxins. Those toxins begin to eat away at the dental enamel. The toxins also irritate the gums. Without regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque, the gums become irritated. They change from being firm and pink, to being puffy and dark red. Your gums can even bleed when you do brush and floss.
This is the first stage of gum disease, called gingivitis.
Take Action Now
If you detect signs of gingivitis, call our practice immediately at 248-329-3552 to schedule an appointment, or use our convenient online form. We’ll perform a dental cleaning to remove all traces of plaque and stop the irritation of your gums.
There’s good reason not to wait, though. Given enough time, plaque will harden into something called dental tartar. Tartar is even harder than your enamel, so you can’t possibly brush or floss it away. However, we’ll remove the tartar through a process called dental scaling (above the gum line) and root planing (below the gum line).
If you don’t get professional care, gum disease gets worse. Your gums can begin to pull away from the teeth. Bacteria can get below the gum line and form pockets of pus. Bacteria can even move further down, potentially infecting the tooth root. Teeth can begin to loosen as the ligaments that help secure them are attacked. Eventually, your teeth can fall out.
This is the second stage of gum disease, called periodontitis. You need professional help as soon as you can get it. Not only can you save your teeth, you can also protect your health.
Gum Disease and Your Health
Numerous research findings show that in long-term gum disease, bacteria can escape your mouth and get into your bloodstream. From there, it goes to all parts of your body. That’s bad news
Periodontitis is linked to:
- Heart problems
- Lung problems
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Colorectal cancer
- Kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers in men
Research is ongoing to find more links between periodontal disease and other health conditions. Even now, though, the bottom line is this: gum disease is bad for your health, not only your teeth.
It’s Not Too Late
Has it been a while since your last cleaning and examination? Or are your gums beginning to recede? Dr. LoCascio is one of the few Michigan dentists who offers the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique. This quick, modern treatment puts your gums back where they belong.
We’re committed to helping all of our patients have their most beautiful smiles in their healthiest mouths.