No one wants to hear about gum disease, but the hard truth is that it’s incredibly common. In fact, almost half of all adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, yet many don’t know it and choose to ignore their symptoms or put off seeking treatment. Unfortunately, by doing so they’re putting themselves at risk for more serious health issues down the road. But what happens if you delay treatment? Read on to find out why getting early intervention is vital in maintaining good oral health and avoiding potentially severe consequences later in life.
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a progressive infection of the gum tissue caused by bacteria in plaque. Plaque is an invisible sticky substance that continually forms on our teeth. When this plaque isn’t removed through regular brushing and flossing, it accumulates and hardens into tartar. The toxins produced by the bacteria in the tartar irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and eventually, gum disease.
The most common symptoms of gum disease include redness and swelling of the gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth, persistent bad breath (halitosis), receding gums (teeth may look longer than usual) and loose teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to get checked by a dentist as soon as possible.
If you don’t get your gum disease treated, it can cause serious problems. Over time, the bacteria in plaque will start to attack your gums, bones and even your teeth. This can lead to infection, inflammation and even tooth loss. Untreated gum disease can also affect other areas of your body such as your heart and lungs. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack which can be very dangerous if left untreated.
Gum disease is not something that should be taken lightly; it is important to seek treatment when you first notice signs or symptoms of gum disease. If left untreated, it may eventually require more invasive treatments such as a root canal or surgery. Treatment for gum disease can involve antibiotics or a deep cleaning procedure. If gum disease is left untreated for too long, it can lead to a need for periodontal surgery. This surgery involves cleaning out the pockets between the teeth and gums in order to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. In severe cases, the underlying bone may also be scaled back in order to reduce inflammation. Your dentist can help you decide which is the best course of action for your specific situation.
Getting treatment early and keeping up with regular check-ups are key to preventing gum disease from progressing. Proper oral hygiene such as brushing twice daily and flossing once daily is essential in keeping your gums healthy and free of plaque buildup. A balanced diet, staying hydrated, and quitting smoking will also help improve your overall oral health.
By taking proactive steps to treat your gum disease, you can prevent further complications down the road. If left untreated, however, it can lead to permanent damage that may require more intensive and costly treatments later on. At Herndon Dental Arts, we offer comprehensive dental care services and would be happy to help you get your oral health back on track. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.