Throughout our lives, we may hear about gum disease. Yet, we may not know why it is a big deal. Gum disease is an infection that can wreak havoc on your oral health. It is a condition that affects a significant number of people worldwide. Beyond causing oral health issues, gum disease can have far-reaching consequences for your overall well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent gum disease at all costs.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth. It may start as a practically unnoticeable issue. But, it will later cause severe damage.
One of the main causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly, you will leave behind plaque and food particles. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that will destroy enamel and inflame the gums. If left untreated, it can progress from gingivitis (mild inflammation) to periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
If you pay attention to your oral health, you may catch some of the early signs of gum disease. You may notice red or swollen gums. Additionally, gum disease can cause bleeding during brushing or flossing. As the gums deteriorate, it can cause bad breath and gum recession.
Oral Health Consequences of Untreated Gum Disease
Neglecting gum disease can lead to serious oral health issues. It can cause more damage than just your gums. For example, advanced gum disease can damage the supporting structures of the teeth. Eventually, this can lead to tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss.
Another issue that you may find is gum recession. Gum disease can cause gums to recede. When plaque irritates the gums, they will begin to pull away from the teeth. This exposes the sensitive tooth roots and increases the risk of tooth decay and sensitivity.
Finally, untreated gum disease may result in the formation of abscesses. These are painful infections that can cause further damage to the nearby tissues.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Systemic Health
Emerging research suggests a connection between gum disease and various health conditions. This shows the importance of addressing gum disease to safeguard overall well-being.
One alarming connection between gum disease and your overall health involves your heart. Gum disease increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and arterial blockages. You should consider your mouth to be the gateway to your health. When you have plaque or infection in your gums, it can venture into other areas of your body.
Another health issue related to gum disease is diabetes. Diabetic people are more susceptible to gum disease. Also, untreated gum disease can make it hard to manage blood sugar levels.
Having more bacteria in your mouth can be bad for your lungs. You can inhale the bacteria from gum disease. This may also lead to respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.
Finally, research links gum disease to premature birth, low birth weight, and other pregnancy issues. Therefore, it is vital to keep your oral health in check.