Gum Disease Is Life Threatening And Most Don’t Know It. New York Dentist, Pankaj Singh Explains
Periodontal, disease, which is also called gum disease, is the primary cause of tooth loss and is perhaps the number-one disease in the world. In fact, around 86% of the population of the United States exhibit some form of periodontal disease starting from mild gingivitis and advanced periodontitis that affects people of all ages and not just the seniors.
Periodontal disease is most often silent and does not exhibit any warning signs. It can take months or even years for the symptoms to develop. The symptoms only become evident after the disease has progressed beyond the initial stages. The warning signs that are most common in periodontal disease include bleeding, swollen gums, which are red, receding gums, pain, halitosis and loose teeth. Some of the more common causes of periodontal disease have been discussed in our blog, which can be accessed here.
Destructive plaque containing bacteria under the gums and around the teeth is the reason why periodontal disease develops. This is usually the case when there is a chronic build-up of high levels of the harmful bacteria, which flourish inside the gum pocket that surrounds every tooth and results in chronic infection, inflammation and erosion of the jawbone. The infection spreads by weakening the tissues and ligaments that surround the teeth.
Unhealthy consequences can result in many organs of the body when the localized gum infection and inflammation are left untreated. The bacteria and the mediators of inflammation are carried by the blood and circulate throughout the body. These are destructive materials and are recognized to be the root cause of heart disease, diabetes, complications in pregnancy, kidney disease, stroke, certain cancers as well as other conditions and medical diseases.
The dentist may recommend a surgical or a nonsurgical approach of treatment depending upon the severity of the condition. The nonsurgical approach is generally used for cases of the mid-moderate types. Antibiotics may also be used during the treatment. It is extremely essential to floss, brush, clean your teeth regularly and maintain regular dental cleanings, especially if you have ongoing medical conditions.
Don’t ignore your gums if they are inflamed and swollen. Call our office right away. We are here to help.
Despite the alarming facts about the dangers of gum disease being known, it is a fact that even though 86% of all Americans suffer from some form of periodontitis just 3% of these Americans seek treatment for the condition and ongoing preventive care regularly.
What Are The Common Symptoms of Gum Disease:
- Swollen gums
- Dark build-up between the teeth
- Bleeding gums when your brush your teeth or floss
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Decaying teeth
What Are The Risk Factors of Gum Disease?
The main cause of gum disease is plaque build-up on the teeth. However, there are other factors that can affect the health of your gums:
- Your age is a factor as studies have shown that older people have higher rates of gum disease. It is estimated that 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontal disease.
- Smoking and other tobacco use has proven to increase your chances of gum disease.
- Genetics can play a role in gum disease. Studies have shown that some people are more likely to develop gum disease even if they have an excellent oral hygiene program.
- Stress has been linked to gum disease as stress makes it more difficult to fight off infections like gum disease.
- Some medications such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants and certain heart medications can affect your gum health.
- Clenching and grinding your teeth can damage the tissue of your gums and speed up the rate at which they are destroyed.
- Other systemic diseases can affect gum health by worsening your body’s inflammatory system.
- Poor nutrition and obesity have also proven to affect gum health. Because gum disease begins with an infection, poor nutrition can worsen your gums.
It is possible for a patient to detect any of these signs, but usually people can have gum disease without even knowing it. For instance, most people just ignore bleeding gums when flossing, but this can actually be a sign of periodontal disease.
How We Determine The Severity of Gum Disease
We can assess how severe your gum disease may be by conducting what is called a periodontal probe in order to measure the pocket depth. A health pocket around your teeth is about 3mm or less deep. The greater the depth of the pocket the more severe the gum disease is.
If the pocket around your teeth attracts food particles, tartar or bacteria, the gums and bone will pull back and off the tooth root. This is called gum recession. The resulting condition is a deeper pocket which leads to a progressive breakdown of the tissue and the bone. If you experience large amounts of bone loss, it will lead to more tooth loss.
How Do We Treat Gum Disease
- We must remove the plaque and tartar that are contributing to the build-up of bacteria in the mouth causing the disease.
- We treat the disease based on the severity of it in your case. If you have the early stages of periodontal disease, which is called gingivitis, we typically do a routine cleaning and the infection is gone after a couple of visits.
- If the disease is more severe, we will typically do a deeper cleaning called a scaling and root planing. This is followed by using an antibiotic called ARESTIN in the pockets of the teeth.
When the treatment is finished, we generally want you to come back in for a follow up visit. We check the pockets again and go over a plan for you to do at home to help keep your teeth and gums in better condition. Most people are not aware that when you are diagnosed with gum disease, you most likely will always have it.
If your gums are tender, swollen and bleeding, then you need to see a dentist right away. Gum disease should never be taken lightly and should receive your immediate attention.
Our location is at:
3 Washington Square Village
New York, NY 10012
(212) 477- 4330