Gum disease (also called Gingivitis or Periodontitis, depending on the seriousness of the gum disease) is a serious gum infection that damages soft tissues. If left untreated it can destroy the bone that supports your teeth as well as lead to other health problems. Periodontitis (also called Periodontal disease) can lead to loose teeth and eventually, progressive tooth loss.
The main cause of Periodontitis is poor oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and getting your teeth checked and cleaned professionally at least once every six months will have a major impact in preventing this disease from occurring. In this article, we’ll talk about possible effects that stem from leaving this disease untreated.
Possible effects of untreated gum disease
If gum disease is not treated promptly, it can result in serious health consequences such as:
1.Heart disease: According to the American Heart Association, patients who have poor oral hygiene are three times more likely to have heart disease. Gum disease also negatively impacts the blood pressure of patients with hypertension and disrupts the effects of hypertensive medications. Researchers also found that gum disease increases a patient’s risk for heart attack by 49%. Many studies have shown that Inflammation in the mouth is directly linked to inflammation in the heart.
2.Diabetes: Blood with a high sugar level is a rampant breeding ground for bacteria. Periodontal disease increases your blood sugar levels, which results in Type 2 Diabetes. The bacteria that infect the gums leak into the bloodstream and greatly weakens the body’s immune system. In response, the body triggers a rise in blood sugar levels to fight off the bacteria. Since gum disease is associated with chronic inflammation, blood sugar levels may be harder to control in diabetic patients with gum disease.
3.Rheumatoid arthritis: A certain bacteria called Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is found in both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. This bacteria triggers an inflammatory autoimmune response of the body’s immune system. This makes the immune system proteins hyperactive, thereby causing joint inflammation.
4.Alzheimer’s disease: Patients who have serious gum disease are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease that affects about 5 million Americans. This disease results in memory loss that grows more severe with time. In order to avoid Alzheimer’s, prevention of gum disease is key, as the bacteria from gum disease tend to infiltrate the body.
5.Pneumonia: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Pneumonia, and Asthma are another set of conditions that are aggravated by chronic gum disease. The infection in the gums triggers the immune system to stay on high alert. This results in a body-wide inflammation including in the airways and the lungs.
6.Covid-19: This is an infectious respiratory infection that has a high mortality rate. Patients with chronic inflammation in their respiratory system due to untreated gum disease are at greater risk of developing Covid-19 and suffering from its many complications.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
There are certain factors that increase your risk of developing gum disease. Some of them are:
• Chewing tobacco or smoking
• Certain medications, such as steroids, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, calcium channel blockers and chemotherapy
• Crooked teeth
• Dental appliances that fit poorly
• Broken fillings
• Genetic factors
• Compromised immunity, like with HIV/AIDS
Symptoms of Gum Disease
• Watch out for these symptoms and contact your dentist if you experience any of the following:
Red, tender, and swollen gums
• Bleeding gums, especially when brushing teeth
• Receding gums that have pulled away from teeth
• Loose teeth
• A change in how the teeth fit together when you bite (Malocclusion)
• Pus between teeth and gums
• Sensitive teeth
• Partial dentures that no longer fit
• Bad breath or Halitosis that does not go away even after brushing
Treatment of gum disease
when it comes to gum disease, like all others, it is better to prevent it rather than deal with it.. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gum disease. Cutting down on smoking and managing your diabetes are other measures to be followed. However, if gum disease is present, it needs to be treated. Some of the treatments for gum disease are:
1.Deep cleaning of teeth: There are several techniques that can be used to deep clean teeth without resorting to surgery. These techniques all remove plaque and tartar, thereby preventing gum irritation. Scaling, which is one of the techniques, removes tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing removes plaque and tartar from the root surface and also smooths rough spots. Lasers are being used to remove tartar with less pain and bleeding than scaling and planing.
2.Antibiotic and other medications: A number of medications can be used to treat gum disease. An antiseptic mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine can be used to disinfect the mouth. Also, timed-release antiseptic chips containing chlorhexidine can be inserted into pockets in the mouth after root planing. Antibiotic microspheres, made with minocycline, can be inserted into pockets in the mouth after scaling and planing. Oral antibiotics can be used to treat chronic gum inflammation. Moreover, Doxycycline can be used to keep enzymes from causing tooth damage.
3.Surgery: Different surgical techniques can be used to treat gum disease. Flap surgery is a procedure where the gums are lifted back to remove plaque and tartar from deeper pockets. The gums are then sutured in place to fit well around the tooth. In severe cases of gum disease, bone and tissue grafts can be used when the jaw and teeth are too damaged to heal.
If you have early or late signs of gum disease, it is imperative that you consult your dentist immediately for the right and timely treatment. Waiting too long can be the difference between returning to a healthy state or causing irreversible damage to your body.
At HarbourPointe Oral Maxillofacial & Advanced Implant Surgery, we take good care of our patients. In this case, that means working with you to prevent or treat gum disease before it becomes too serious. We treat each patient as a complete individual with their own individual dental problems and needs.
So, if you have gum disease in any of its stages, do consult with us at Harbour Pointe and be sure that you are receiving the best and most timely treatment possible.
For more information about gum disease and other dental procedures and solutions, consult Dr. Brian Hart and Dr. Kathleen Isdith at 425-353-1009 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website https://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery.net for more information.