Gum disease impacts 80 percent of the population. That’s a staggering statistic. If any other disease affected that much of the population, we would all be up in arms to find a solution. We would also make sure that we or our loved ones would take advantage of all available treatments.
What makes people feel like gum disease in Westminster isn’t as important an issue? The problem lies with the way many of us take our teeth and gums for granted. Most people are only concerned with their mouth if they’re actively experiencing pain. Others are more concerned with aesthetics than anything else. Other than that, their teeth and gums don’t play a big part in their life.
However, we understand a large part of the problem is a lack of education. Dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists are well-versed in what causes periodontal disease and how to treat it. Patients, though, don’t always know just how important it is to treat this malady. They don’t realize that gum disease is an affliction that affects the entire body.
Periodontal Disease: Westminster Patients Should Be Evaluated Regularly
Untreated gum disease can wreak havoc on a patient’s dental and overall health. It opens up a pathway for more infection and an increased likelihood for disease.
- The Oral Effects of Gum Disease: Gum disease is one of the three ways a person can lose their teeth. Unlike decay and trauma, though, periodontal disease rarely affects just one or two teeth. When a patient presents in our office with periodontal disease, just about every tooth in their mouth is affected, as are the jaw bones.
Around each tooth is a gum pocket. These pockets should range from 1-3 millimeters in depth. Four and above reflects gum disease. In the early stage (gingivitis), the gums are puffy and bleed when a patient brushes or flosses. This stage of the disease is reversible with regular dental cleanings, proper brushing and flossing technique, brushing multiple times each day, and flossing at least once a day.
Once a patient has bypassed gingivitis, they’ve reached the level of disease that is no longer reversible, but that can still be halted. In these cases, our patients can maintain healthier gum pocket numbers by getting their teeth cleaned 2-4 times each year, plus adequate homecare.
If steps aren’t taken to stop gum disease it will continue to progress, eventually leading to deeper pockets. When gum pockets get deeper, food and bacteria can become impacted, causing the jaw bone to recede away from the tooth. The result? Loose teeth that may need to be extracted.
- How Gum Disease Affects the Rest of the Body: But the teeth and jaw bone aren’t the only things affected by periodontal disease. Westminster patients need to realize that this disease affects the entire body. We’ve seen many patients develop oral infections because of advanced gum disease. If not addressed, this could result in a chronic infection, something that puts the rest of the body at risk for other infections and disease.
Back in the 1990s, researchers started to study the effects of gum disease on the rest of the body. What they found made dentists and doctors take notice. There was a definite link between periodontal disease and gum disease. Both conditions are inflammatory and researchers believe this is the link between them. Similarly, research indicates that there is a connection between stroke and gum infections. People who have gum disease are more likely to have a stroke than those who have healthy gums.
Researchers have more recently discovered a correlation between gum disease and diabetes. Patients who have diabetes will more than likely have periodontal disease. The theory goes that people with diabetes are more susceptible to infections and other diseases. Plus, gum disease has also been shown to raise blood sugar levels.
Research seems to indicate, too, that gum disease plays a role in osteoporosis, cancer, and respiratory infections. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, oral bacteria can be aspirated, causing lung disease like pneumonia. People with gum disease are also between 30 and 54 percent more likely to develop certain types of cancer.
How Patients in Westminster with Periodontal Disease Are Treated
It’s easy to see why treating gum disease is so important. Our Westminster periodontal disease patients have found the modern approach for treating the disease easier than expected. Here are just a couple examples of gum disease treatments.
- Deep Cleanings, Followed by Regular Periodontal Cleanings: When a patient has been diagnosed with periodontal disease, they need a deep cleaning. This is a process in which our hygienist will numb the gum tissue and use instruments to clean out the deep gum pockets. This deep cleaning allows the pockets the opportunity to shrink and heal. Deep cleanings are followed by regular 3, 4, or 6 month cleanings to ensure that the patient’s healthier pocket numbers can be maintained.
- Perio Protect Gum Disease Treatment System: Perio Protect is one of the easiest gum disease treatment systems available. It is used in conjunction with deep cleanings and regular periodontal cleanings. All that is required of our patients is to wear a mouth guard-type appliance for a few minutes every day so their gums can receive medication to heal the gum tissue. It’s simple, easy, and affordable.
Achieve Better Overall Health with Gum Disease Treatments
The idea of seeing our patients dealing with such dreadful diseases as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer galvanizes us to do all we can to educate and successfully treat our patients. There are simple, practical ways to treat the disease, and thereby give yourself the opportunity for a long, healthy, and happy life.
If you would like to learn more about how gum disease impacts your teeth and your overall health, please check out some of our other blog posts. Or, you can contact us for a consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about gum disease.