When your gums are turning red and puffy, and start to bleed when you floss, these could be signs of impending gum disease. At its worst stage, this disease is known as periodontal disease or periodontitis. But what you absolutely need to know is how dangerous this disease can be if left untreated.
The Stages And Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage, when plaque first starts to build on the gumline. Inflammation appears in your tissues, turning your gums red and slightly swollen. The toxins from the plaque are what inflame the gums.
- Periodontal Disease: Pockets will start to appear in the lining of your gums, leaving exposed areas where food and plaque can get trapped. The redness, swelling and bleeding becomes worse. Gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth.
- Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, the tissues have completely deteriorated, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed and loose in their sockets. Pus erupts between the teeth and gums. It becomes harder or painful to chew your food. Teeth can become misaligned or even fall out.
Our goal at Diane W. Sherman, DMD is to prevent you from reaching the level of periodontitis. Even if you show the symptoms of early gum disease, we’ll help guide you towards the treatment you need.
How To Prevent Periodontal Disease
As scary as this condition sounds, it’s entirely preventable! The best way to stave off periodontal disease is to keep up with good oral health care:
- Follow the 2 x 2 Rule: The American Dental Association coined the 2 by 2 rule to encourage patients to brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Brush less aggressively: In addition to brushing twice a day, patients should also brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush and move in circles.
- Floss correctly: When flossing, don’t jam the floss deep into the gum tissue. Floss gently, using a C-motion to pull particles up and out of the pockets.
- Visit the dentist regularly for hygiene cleanings: Each time you visit the dentist, the goal is to clear your smile of plaque and tartar buildup that you may have missed. It takes specialized tools to clear it all away. But for patients who refuse to go to the dentist, the plaque can quickly worsen.
What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common occurrence, due to the hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Pregnant women may find their gums feeling more tender and appearing redder. This condition can be prevented from escalating through good oral care, but pregnant women should give their dentist a call if they’re feeling toothaches, bleeding or pain in their mouth. Studies have also shown that the bacteria behind gingivitis can potentially cause premature births.
Porphyromonas Gingivalis And Your Body
Porphyromonas Gingivalis, also known as p. gingivalis, is one of the main bacteria responsible for gum disease. Recent studies have also shown what damage this bacteria can do to the rest of your body.
- Atherosclerosis: The p. gingivalis bacteria can trigger inflammation in the linings of arteries. As a result, the combination of this reaction and buildup of cholesterol can lead to heart disease and increased risk of heart attack.
- Pancreatic Cancer: According to an NYU study, patients with p. gingivalis had a 59% increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. While pancreatic cancer patients have been known to be susceptible to gum disease, this is the first study to show a possible reverse correlation.
- Digestive Problems: When p.gingivalis is introduced to the intestinal gut, it changes the chemistry of the good bacteria that digest your food. This also affects proper liver function.
- Pregnancy Complications: Some consider the most frightening effects of p. gingivalis to be on pregnant women. In one study on mice, this bacteria restricted fetal growth and induced premature births.
Find Out More About Periodontal Disease And Your Health
Even if the warning signs of gum disease are just starting to arise, the best course of action is to speak with Dr. Diane W. Sherman about treatments. Treat the problem now before it worsens! Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our dentist and our team.