When you think of a healthy smile, you probably think of shiny, straight white teeth. It is important to remember, however, that healthy gums are just as critical. Gums are the foundation of a healthy smile!
Why Do Gums Matter?
Your gums function as anchors for your teeth, holding them in place. When gums are neglected and unhealthy, they begin to bleed and become red and puffy. This reaction is the result of bacterial build-up underneath them. These bacteria destroy the connective tissue between the gums and teeth, causing pockets to form around the roots of the teeth. As these pockets become larger, teeth become loose and eventually need to be removed.
Did you know that more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than decay? Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is in fact the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, and it is rampant among adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of all adults over age thirty in the United States have gum disease.
Gums Are a Window to the Rest of Your Body
Oral bacteria can travel through infected gum tissue, circulating in the blood stream and triggering an inflammatory response in your vital organs. The American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have linked gum disease and heart disease. Scientists suspect that the connection is due to oral bacteria, found in infected gum tissue.
Oral bacteria enters the blood stream through the pockets between the teeth and gums. It then contributes to the formation of arterial plaque. Oral bacteria has been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow arteries or break loose and cause blockages, leading to heart attack or stroke.
People with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
At Parkview Family Dental, our goal is to prevent periodontal disease from developing. We encourage you to come in for regular dental cleanings, and at your appointments we spend time educating you on how to maintain a healthy smile with proper brushing, flossing, and dietary choices.
We have a range of treatments available to help stop periodontal disease from progressing. Treatments include medication and deep cleaning treatments, or scaling and root planing. This procedure involves thoroughly scaling all plaque, bacterial toxins, and tartar deposits from your teeth and root surfaces. After the scaling is complete, root planing smoothes all rough areas on your roots’ surfaces.
Smooth root surfaces keep bacteria, plaque and tartar from re-adhering underneath the gum line, allowing your gums to heal and reattach themselves more firmly.
In more advanced cases of periodontal disease we may recommend gum surgery in conjunction with procedures such as bone grafting in order to eliminate the disease and help regenerate the level of bone and stabilize health.