Everyone knows brushing, flossing, and regular dental care are key to preventing cavities and keeping your teeth in good shape. What you may not realize, however, is having a healthy mouth can also reduce your risk for a variety of other ailments.
The team at Mountain Peak Dentistry in Lakewood, Colorado, provides the highest level of treatment for everything from routine cleanings to restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures and minor oral surgeries. We offer a pleasant environment and friendly, personalized care designed to put both children and adults at ease.
What is periodontal disease?
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease results when the bacteria in plaque collects between your teeth and gums. Expanding bacteria causes inflammation, which may lead to the deterioration of your gums and jawbone structure. This can result in gum recession and possibly tooth loss.
How common is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is estimated to affect one in seven adults ages 35-44. This number increases to one in every four people by age 65. Gum disease is serious enough in 20% to 30% of adults to put them at risk of tooth loss.
Risk factors include being male and smoking. Up to 90% of people with severe gum disease are smokers.
What issues can periodontal disease cause?
Gum disease has been associated with ailments like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Researchers are still investigating the exact reasons behind these links but suspect inflammation is an important part of the puzzle.
Diabetics with severe gum disease often have a higher inflammatory response and may experience a greater challenge when trying to control their blood sugar levels. They may also be more susceptible to infections that lead to gum disease. Sometimes, simply the presence of gum disease can lead to the discovery of diabetes. In fact, a study found that one in five people with periodontal disease also had undiagnosed diabetes.
Researchers are continuing to study the connection between gum disease and other ailments. Findings include the ideas that treating gum disease may lessen the consequences of heart disease and that the presence of dental plaque bacteria may lead to blood clots, which could cause a stroke.
Some research indicates the bacteria that causes gum inflammation in pregnant women can move into the bloodstream and target the fetus, possibly resulting in premature labor or a low-birth-weight baby.
How can you prevent periodontal disease?
Diligence is key when it comes to preventing gum disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss daily, and use mouthwash as well. Practice healthy habits like not smoking, avoiding sugar as much as possible, and eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Also, be sure to have a dental cleaning at least twice a year or more if recommended depending on the condition of your teeth and gums. Dental professionals can remove tartar and spot issues before they become big problems. They can also take into account your family and personal histories to help determine your risk of gum disease.
If you're ready to take control of your dental — and overall — health, call or click to book an appointment at Mountain Peak Dentistry today.