Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the soft tissues that support your teeth. If allowed to progress, it can lead to serious decay of the underlying bone structure and, eventually, tooth loss. But more and more recent studies have shown that the hazards of gum disease don’t stop there.
Periodontal Disease Areas of Special Concern
Bacteria can build up between the tooth and gum and enter into the bloodstream whenever your gums bleed. This bacteria can travel throughout the body and contribute to serious health problems in other areas, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes and more.
Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease, including tobacco use, some medications (including steroids, oral contraceptives, cancer therapy drugs and more), ill-fitting bridges, defective fillings and more. Good oral hygiene is essential, however, in preventing periodontal disease. This includes brushing, cleaning between the teeth (flossing), eating a balanced diet – and regularly scheduled dental visits.
Not only are professional cleanings essential to maintain the healthiest teeth and gums, but it is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. With regular dental checkups and periodontal exams, you can rest assured that your smile is at its best and healthiest. Don’t wait until you start losing teeth to learn the importance of good dental hygiene. A few simple habits now can avert disaster later.