Friday, September 10, 2010

Periodontal Disease & Why It Matters

What is Periodontal or "Gum" Disease?

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to "periodontitis" (which means "inflammation around the tooth.") This condition causes gums to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque grows and worsens below the gum line. As your body defends itself, bacterial toxins and the body's natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If left untreated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth may be destroyed. Even worse, the teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Most people usually do not show any signs of periodontal disease until they hit their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Generally teens rarely develop gum disease, but they can develop gingivitis. Gingivitis is a the milder form of gum disease that can later lead to periodontitis. Most commonly, gum disease develops when plaque is allowed to build up along and under the gum line.

Here are some things you can do to prevent periodontal diseases:

- Brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste)
- Floss every day
- Visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Don't smoke

Some recent studies have observed that people with gum disease (when compared to people without gum disease) were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar. Other studies showed that women with gum disease were more likely than those with healthy gums to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies. So far, it is not been determined whether gum disease is the cause of these conditions, but the correlation definitely exists.

We encourage everyone to care for their teeth as a part of their overall health. Call us today to schedule your exam and routine cleaning.

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Kurz Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
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