When it comes to going to the dentist, everyone thinks about their teeth. That’s what dentists deal with, right? They look at your teeth, clean your teeth, and fix your teeth. There’s truth to that, of course. At our Medford office, we help patients with dental implants, teeth whitening, and dentures, for example. But what are your teeth sitting in? Exactly, the gums.
Your gums are vital to your dental health. If your gums get sick, the teeth sitting there can get loose or even fall out entirely. Your gums might be trying to hurt you, but it’s not really their fault. It’s due to a nasty little problem called periodontal disease.
Why Don’t They Just Say Gum Disease?
“Periodontal” is a fancy word for gums, so periodontal disease is the same thing as gum disease. It’s when harmful bacteria infect your gums and start to spread unchecked. The milder form of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, but no matter what you call it, you can’t ignore it.
The CDC estimates that 47% of adults have periodontal disease. That means there’s probably a 50-50 chance of you having some kind of gum disease (and more if you include gingivitis). How can you tell? Because it’s a bacteria thing, it’s not always easy. That said, here are some periodontal disease symptoms:
But like we said, sometimes periodontal disease is hard to spot. You could have gum disease without showing any signs.
How Periodontal Disease Leads To Big Problems
Right, here’s the gross part. If you don’t treat that gum disease, bad things will happen. Your gumline will start to recede, exposing more of your teeth to the world. That just looks bad. What’s worse? Getting pockets of empty space in your gums that can loosen your teeth and even make them fall out. Read that again: untreated gum disease can make you lose your teeth. All that bacteria infecting your gums thrive in those pockets, because small particles of food can get stuck there. It turns your mouth into a luxury hotel for bacteria, which is why you sometimes get really bad breath with gum disease. It can even deteriorate your jawbone.
And that’s just how it impacts your teeth! Studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar, hence its connection to diabetes. And because the bacteria are inflaming the tissue in your mouth, there are studies showing a link between gum disease and heart disease. It can even increase your risk of pancreatic and kidney cancer.
See? Maybe your gums really are trying to hurt you.
Don’t Worry, We Have Treatments That Can Help
What is there to do? Plenty. Here are several treatments for periodontal disease.
What would work best for you depends on lots of factors. To schedule an appointment with our office in Medford, call us at 541-930-8036, or fill out this online form. Once we see what’s going on, we can work with you to find a treatment plan that fits your needs and budget.
Is FEAR Keeping You From the Dentist? Comfortable dental appointments are possible with sedation dentistry. Click here to learn more in our FREE e-book.