As the main cause of adult tooth loss, gum disease is one of the most recognizable oral health concerns. Yet not everyone is aware of how serious it can become if left untreated. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that erodes areas of your gum tissues. In more advanced cases, the erosion can spread to the underlying jawbone. Because of its inflammatory nature, gum disease can also increase your risks of systemic illnesses, making prevention and treatment even more important.
What Gum Disease Does
When it first develops, gum disease is often hard to detect. It begins as a minor bacterial infection in your gums known as gingivitis, which is caused by overwhelming buildup of oral bacteria (plaque and tartar). At first, you may notice slight inflammation and redness in your gums; as it progresses, your gum tissues will recede from your teeth and the inflammation will grow exponentially worse. Patients with severe gum disease, or periodontitis, will experience severe damage to their gum tissues as well as degradation in the jawbone that supports their teeth.
The Oral-Systemic Connection
As the driving force behind gum disease, unchecked inflammation poses a serious threat to more than just your oral health. When your immune system is compromised and inflammation is allowed to spread unchecked, your risks for conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia—all inflammatory conditions—are significantly higher. Preventing and treating gum disease is important to save your smile, but also to reduce unnecessary health risks in the future.
Eliminate the Threat of Gum Disease
If you have gum disease, or believe that you might, then let your dentist treat it before it can complicate your oral and overall health. To learn more, call Stephens and Gatewood Dentistry on Cypresswood Drive at 281-320-2000. Located in Spring, TX, we also proudly serve the residents of Houston, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress, and all surrounding communities.