Gum disease is a common problem – 7 out of 10 Canadians will develop it at least once in their lifetime. Since it's a common problem, many people may feel it will clear up on its own and doesn't require any special gum disease treatment. Below are three reasons you need to tackle this problem head on and several ways your dentist can help.
Reason #1: Gum Disease Can Lead to Infections Throughout Your Body
Gum disease doesn't stop at the gums – if given the chance, it can travel throughout your body.
Lung infections are one reason to be proactive about gum disease. The majority of these infections are caused when saliva or other fluids bypass the trachea and settle into your lungs. Plaque-ridden saliva only makes the odds of infection worse.
Bacteria found in the mouth has also been linked to plague buildup in the arteries, which can be a potentially life-threatening issue. And if you have other pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, your chances only increase for complications related to gum disease.
Reason #2: No One Likes Stinky Breath
Considering reason one, this may seem petty, but it is still important.
Even if you think you're taking care of your teeth, the "sniff test" can tell you more about the state of your gums. If you're brushing and flossing as instructed by your dentist and you're still battling with bad breath, there may be a deeper issue that only your dentist can treat. Severe gum disease, infections, and abscesses can all lead to chronically bad breath, and you may need your doctor's help in treating the source of the issue and preventing it from reoccurring.
Reason #3: Gum Disease May Mean Dentures Are In Your Future
If periodontal disease continues to go unchecked, you could be on the fast track to needing dentures.
Gum disease is about more than plaque buildup – it leads to gum irritation and swelling, which can in turn lead to erosion. Loss of gums can increase the chances of you losing your teeth, as now infection can more easily enter and get to the root. If you notice swelling, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or general irritation, it's important to bring this up to your dentist before the progression becomes irreversible.
Regular visits with your dentist, as well as regular brushing and flossing, are your first line of defense when it comes to preventing gum disease. If you're concerned that you may have gum disease, talk with your dentist immediately. It may require further treatment than you can provide yourself, and you don't want it to progress any further.