Periodontal disease is a threat to the health of Garland, TX residents
Countless people in Garland, TX and across the globe have an oral problem with far-reaching health impact – periodontal disease. The good news is that gum disease can be accurately diagnosed and treated effectively. Most importantly, gum disease can be prevented. Dr. Sakunthala Boppana of Perfect 32 Family Dentistry shares this important insight.
Periodontal disease – Garland, TX dentist explains the facts
Early stage gum disease is easy to ignore. You may notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss, discolored gums, or foul breath or taste. However, it causes little or no pain since gum tissue doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings. Yet gum disease represents an infection that the body must combat 24/7. This naturally wears the immune system down.
Certain strains of oral bacteria cause gum disease. They feed on sugars and starches left behind by your meals. These pathogens create a sticky film of plaque, which traps bits of food debris. As they eat, they produce acidic byproducts that irritate gum tissue. When plaque is not regularly removed with brushing and flossing, it hardens into calculus (also called tartar) at the gum line, which results in further irritation.
As gums lose their snug seal to teeth, periodontal pockets form. This loose tissue allows bacteria to penetrate deeper, contributing to decay of tooth roots, and breaking down connective tissue and bone. Teeth loosen and fall out, or extraction may be necessary.
Meanwhile, periodontal disease is triggering detrimental ripples throughout the body. Diseased gum tissue allows pathogens to enter the blood stream. They populate on arterial plaque (deposits of fat, cholesterol, and calcium in arteries) causing inflammation and contributing to constricted blood flow. If you have advanced gum disease, you are twice as likely as someone with healthy gums to develop coronary artery disease.
There is a strong two-way connection between periodontal disease and diabetes. Worsening condition of the gums is an indicator of uncontrolled blood sugar levels, and individuals with untreated gum disease are at increased risk of developing diabetes.
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The gum disease-systemic link also shows up as elevated risk of:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Respiratory disease.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Some types of cancer – primarily kidney, pancreatic, and blood.
Gum disease causes dental changes that make it difficult to eat a well-balanced nutritious diet. Poor nutrition has a negative impact on your entire state of wellness. Missing, crooked, or discolored teeth and bad breath affect your self-image and how others see you, as well.
Gum disease causes, and prevention tips
Anyone can get gum disease. Both genders, all ethnicities, and all ages are at risk. Causes of gum disease include:
- Age – While closely related to several other risk factors, the chance of developing gum disease increases with each passing year.
- Bruxism – Excessive clenching and grinding strains tissues that support teeth, accelerating the progress of gum disease.
- Dehydration – Drinking plenty of fresh, plain water daily helps to flush pathogens from the oral cavity.
- Genetics – Tendency to develop gum problems runs in families. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, it is important to be extra-diligent in monitoring and maintaining gum health.
- Hormonal changes – Pregnancy, birth control, and menopause cause hormonal fluctuations that impair the body’s ability to fight harmful oral bacteria. Regular dental checkups during these phases of life are essential.
- Inferior nutrition – A diet of sugary snacks and acid carbonated beverages contributes to gum disease. Healthy gums love a vitamin, calcium, and mineral rich diet of leafy greens, citrus fruits, seafood, low-fat dairy, and nuts.
- Medications – Drugs for heart conditions and depression may cause chronic dry mouth, increasing risk of gum disease. Good hydration is important.
- Negligent oral hygiene – Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional teeth cleaning is critical to gum health. Beware, though, of overly-aggressive brushing with a stiff toothbrush – it damages delicate gum tissue.
- Stress – It hinders the body’s ability to fight infection, so stress-management techniques can improve gum health.
- Tobacco – Experts cite smoking as the most significant – and preventable – risk factor for periodontal disease. About half of the cases of chronic periodontitis in this country can be attributed to tobacco use.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Boppana for an evaluation of your gum health, and advice on prevention and management of periodontal disease. The number in Garland, TX is (469) 804-5677.