How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Health?
Gum disease is the most common dental problem. If left untreated, it can cause you to lose your teeth. It also increases risk factors for other illnesses, such as:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Premature births or low birth weight
Gum disease is best treated when caught early, but that can be difficult since it’s usually painless until there’s a problem. Regular dental checkups allow the dentist to catch gum disease early- before it starts affecting your health.
How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums, periodontal ligaments, and the jawbone. It happens when a buildup of calculus (tartar) breaks the healthy attachment between the teeth and gums. Bacteria starts collecting in pockets, which causes the infection. When you first start to develop gum disease there will be some inflammation and bleeding of the gums, and maybe a bad taste in your mouth. This stage is called gingivitis. It’s typically painless, but it’s the first step towards a serious infection, and it’s the only stage of gum disease that is reversible.
Once gingivitis has progressed to periodontal disease, toxins have begun to cause irreversible damage to the tissue and bone surrounding your teeth. At this stage, symptoms can be treated, but the disease has not progressed to a chronic condition. If it continues to get worse, it’s likely you will lose your teeth unless you pursue aggressive treatment.