American River Dental
Causes Of Gum Disease
American River Dental
About Periodontal Disease
Healthy gums are generally pink and anchor the teeth firmly in place. However, periodontal diseases are infections of the gums which gradually lead to the destruction of the bone support around your natural teeth. These diseases affect more that 80% of Americans by the age of 45.
Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria found in plaque produce enzymes and toxins which injure the gums. Injured gums turn red, swell and bleed easily.
If this injury is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form.
Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (tartar).
This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate.
If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Pain is usually not present until damage from this disease is very advanced.
You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Current studies have also established that tobacco smoking not only causes direct damage to your mouth but also makes periodontal diseases more damaging and harder to treat.
There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, more gum recession and more loss of the bone that hold teeth in your mouth. In addition, smokeless tobacco greatly increases your chance of developing oral cancer. Any tobacco usage can complicate the placement of dental implants.
Besides smokeless tobacco, cigarette smoking negatively impacts the health of the gums. The healing capacity of the mouth is significantly altered. The healing time from any procedure is always increased. Needless to say smoking creates more tartar, more stain, bad breath and an increased potential for mouth cancer.
Other chemicals impair the function of your white blood cells which are your first line of defense against infection. The tars contain carcinogens which over time induce cell mutations and cancers.
Quitting tobacco use will lower the risk of your developing cancer and improve the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your heart and lungs.
Smokeless tobacco poses very serious problems including:
– Causes tooth decay
– Eats away your gums
– Leads to tooth loss
– Bad breath
– Stains your teeth
– Causes oral sensitivity to hot and cold
– Decreases sense of taste and smell
If oral cancer is left untreated long enough, it may even cause death.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
Individuals suffering from diabetes have defects in small blood vessels, not only in the extremities (toes and fingers) and the retina of the eye but also in the gums.
The immune system of diabetics is also compromised. Diabetics are at higher risk of developing bacterial infections, especially in the mouth.
These infections may result in greater difficulty with controlling your diabetes. This unique “vicious cycle” makes periodontal diseases in the diabetic more severe, more difficult to treat and more likely to recur.
Steps to prevent periodontal disease include daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque from your teeth and gums, regular dental visits for professional cleaning and regular periodontal evaluation.
For the diabetic, this may not be enough. Your health professional must also be told of your history and the current status of your condition. And finally, you can help resist periodontal infection by carefully controlling your blood sugar levels.