Have you seen any of the series of television commercials promoting travel to Las Vegas, Nevada? These commercials all have the same tagline “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It’s an interesting concept for vacation. However, for your oral health, there is a condition that starts in your mouth but doesn’t always stay in your mouth, and it can affect your overall health.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. If not corrected by good oral hygiene, gingivitis progresses to gum disease (periodontitis). Gum disease is a chronic infection that destroys the gum tissue and bone surrounding your teeth. Also, untreated gum disease can cause problems throughout your body.
Disease and Conditions Linked to Gum Disease
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature births
- Smoking and Tobacco Use — Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for gum disease.
- Alcohol — The risk of gum disease is higher for heavy drinkers.
- HPV — People with HPV are at risk of having gum disease.
- Diabetes — People with uncontrolled blood sugar have a higher risk of gum disease, and it’s usually more advanced.
- Genetics — People with a family history of gum disease are more likely to develop the disease.
- Age — People over the age of 65 have the highest rates of gum disease.
- Poor oral hygiene — People who don’t brush and floss regularly can have a buildup of plaque, which leads to gingivitis and eventually gum disease if they don’t make changes to reverse it.
- Pregnancy — Hormonal changes can cause gingivitis, which can lead to gum disease.
- Diet — Poor nutrition can compromise the body’s immune system.
- Stress — Stress can make it hard for your body to fight off infections like gum disease.
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums bleed easily
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red, and tender gums
- Loose permanent teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth close together
Gum disease can affect the health of your body in a variety of ways. Practice good oral hygiene. Schedule regular exams and cleanings. Early detection and treatment are important in the fight against gum disease. Has it been six months since your last dental visit? Contact my office to schedule an appointment.