Periodontal disease refers to infection around the teeth. More often, we call this gum disease, though it may also affect the bones, ligaments, and other supports for your teeth. It can damage these supports, resulting in receding gums, loose teeth, and, eventually, lost teeth. Because it’s a chronic infection, gum disease is bad for your overall health, too. It can lead to heart problems, may increase your risk of pneumonia, can worsen diabetes and kidney problems, and may play a role in oral cancer and cancer elsewhere in the body.
Gum disease can be combated with prevention, and with a range of treatments. If you are concerned about gum disease, please call (910) 392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry today for an appointment.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Gum disease can develop gradually. It’s important to be on the lookout for symptoms, which are listed here from those associated with minor (gingivitis) to severe (periodontitis) gum disease:
- Red gums
- Swelling gums
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Food gets stuck between teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums — your teeth seem to be getting longer
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dentist for a professional cleaning and exam.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you have gum disease, we will work to treat it according to the severity of your condition. If it is only minor, we might recommend simple changes to your oral hygiene routine, such as brushing more (or sometimes less) often, flossing teeth more thoroughly, changing to an electric toothbrush, using a water flosser, or using mouthwash. We may also recommend more regular visits to help keep gum disease under control.
For more serious cases, we might recommend a deep cleaning. In this procedure, we work to remove bacteria from between your teeth and gums. We will also help the gums to stick to your teeth again, while making it harder for bacteria to penetrate. We use a laser to perform this procedure, so it’s gentler than traditional deep cleanings performed with only manual cutting and scraping tools. The laser also helps kill bacteria around the gums. We may apply antibiotics to your gums or give you a prescription for antibiotics.
In severe cases, we might refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon for surgical gum treatment.
Gum Disease and Your Health
Gum disease is a serious health problem. As a chronic infection, it can significantly impact your entire health. Inflammation in your gums is mirrored by inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the heart, joints, kidneys, and prostate. Gum disease bacteria can spread throughout the body. They are commonly a part of deposits that clog the arteries, contributing to heart disease and high blood pressure. Oral bacteria can also spread to the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Gum disease also contributes to pregnancy risks and can make diabetes harder to manage.
This connection has been verified not just by science, but by economics. People who get their gum disease treated can save thousands of dollars a year in medical costs for treating other conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pregnancy complications.