Gum Health: Here’s What You Need to Know

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It may seem as though dentistry is only concerned with teeth. This simply isn’t true! In taking care of your teeth, it is important that you do not let caring for your gums fall by the wayside. Unhealthy gums can cause serious problems for the mouth, eventually leading to large-scale tooth loss. Furthermore, gum disease has been linked to several other serious health problems. Below we provide vital information regarding gum disease.

The Progression of Gum Disease

Gingivitis is a well-known form of gum disease. Many people even know that gingivitis means “inflammation of the gums” (Gingiva is Latin for “gums” and “itis” is Greek for “inflammation”) but fewer people know just how serious a problem it can be. If left unchecked, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more damaging form of gum disease that attacks the ligaments and tissues that support teeth. With the decay of vital ligaments and tissues, teeth can loosen, shift, and even fall out! Yet tooth loss is not the worst side effect of periodontitis. Researchers have linked gum disease with several health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Scientists have found two striking similarities between gum and heart disease. First, both involve similar inflammatory processes. Second, the bacteria responsible for gum disease can also be found in cases of heart disease. This evidence suggests that extreme gum disease can cause heart disease.

Gum Disease, Diabetes, and Cancer

The evidence for gum disease as a cause of diabetes and cancer remains a bit murky. However, there is a clear correlation that patients with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to become diabetic within 20 years. The connection between gum disease and cancer is a little easier to trace. Periodontal disease results in an increase in the number of bacteria found in the mouth. It also causes an increase in gastric acidity and the number of nitrosamines in the mouth. These substances are carcinogenic, meaning that an increased production of these substances exacerbates the likelihood of cancer.

Visit Your Williamsburg Dentist

Thorough homecare and regular dental visits can prevent bacteria from attacking your gums. If you are due for a dental cleaning, contact our office today at 757-645-4055 to schedule an appointment.

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