The most important attribute of gum disease is its early detection and treatment. In absence of this, gum disease advances to its later stages, namely – periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
Here’s what has been reported by the American Dental Association on the risk of periodontitis:
Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
This is truly alarming as advanced periodontitis is a sheer resultant of neglect and delay in the treatment of gum disease. Therefore, A quick glance at the stages of gum disease will facilitate a better understanding of the things discussed in this article.
The 3 broad stages of gum disease are:
The earliest stage of gum disease is termed as Gingivitis. Primarily characterized by an inflammation of the gums, it is again an outcome of poor health hygiene. Accumulation of plaque near the gumline produces toxins (poisons) to irritate the gum tissue. The swelling may cause some bleeding while you brush or floss. At this stage, the issue can be resolved with proper treatment and care, as the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been affected.
This is the stage of gum disease when the supporting bone and tissues that hold your teeth in place are damaged. This damage is mostly irreversible. The gums start forming pockets under the gumline, where there are chances of further collection of food particles and plaque. This stage needs some serious intervention by your periodontist. Proper aftercare post the periodontal treatment is capable of improving the situation.
#3 Advanced Periodontitis:
The final stage of gum disease causes serious damage to not only the tissues but also the bones underlying the gums. This deep-driven damage also leads your teeth to shift or loosen. Mostly, at this stage, the dentist has nothing much to do but remove the teeth. All you can do is go for lost tooth restoration after this.
By merely looking at the statistics (provided at the start of this post), it might occur to you, what are the consequences of gum disease. Quite alarmingly, very less a percentage of the dentally affected population are aware of the outcomes of gum disease! Some of these that need to be essentially mentioned are:
- Heart Disease
One of the most popular theories states that bacteria from the infected gums travel to other parts of the body through the blood vessels. Blockage through blood clots may take place that might lead to a heart attack or even a stroke! This theory gained ground more firmly when antibiotics administered for gingivitis effectively proved to reduce cardiovascular risk!
A more general explanation states that inflammation within the body sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout your entire system. This affects the heart and the brain too!
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Since RA is caused by the painful inflammation of joints in your body, studies have shown that rheumatoid arthritis patients more commonly have periodontal diseases. Their gums fall easy prey to bacterial infection and inflammation.
Diabetes, when poorly controlled poses greater risk of dental problems. High blood sugar may culminate into conditions like lesser blood supply to the gums, dry mouth that reduces the flow of saliva to create a better ground for bacterial build-up! Thus, diabetes and gum disease are interrelated!
The significance of early detection of gum disease and its consequent treatment, therefore, stands clear. The earlier the problem is addressed, the lesser chances of complications (or other health hazards) remain. So, now that you are familiar with the dire consequences of gum disease, rush to your periodontist immediately as your gums start troubling you!