We hear all sorts of news about silent killers like strokes and heart disease. These health conditions are frightening because it seems like they can just appear out of no where and start to affect your life in ways you never imagined before. While these well-known, dangerous conditions are talked about often, there is one condition that we don’t speak about very often: gum disease.
Kennewick, WA is no different from any other city in the country: gum disease is running rampant. The latest research from the CDC shows that about half of all adults over 35 years old currently have some form of gum disease. That is a LOT of people walking around with this infection.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “So what?” The problem that we aren’t talking about is the fact that gum disease in linked with the very same conditions we talked about before, and more!
Gum Disease Kills
It might be dramatic to say, “Gum disease kills,” but it’s really not a hyperbole. Gum disease is linked with serious, life-altering and life-ending conditions like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and preterm labor and delivery of low birthweight babies. These conditions threaten and end lives each and every day, and the fact that your oral health plays a role in that is something everyone should be concerned about. Remember, half of adults over 35 have gum disease!
Damage to Your Oral Health
Gum disease is a primary concern for your oral health, and it can do some major damage! Gum disease comes in stages, so most of these concerns are only going to come about when gum disease is allowed to progress into the final, most serious stages.
Lost Teeth – Gum disease is the number one cause of lost adult teeth in the United States. The gum disease goes down along the tooth root and weakens the bone until it can no longer support your natural tooth, so it comes out.
Poor Gums – Your gums suffer as well. Gums infected with gum disease often recede away from your teeth, leaving parts of your tooth root exposed. The gums themselves become sore, swollen, and tender. They might bleed easily or become discolored.
Loss of Bone – Gum disease itself weakens teeth, and the loss of teeth can also cause bone to lose density. This loss of bone affects the way you look and your ability to get restorations, like dental implants, in the future.
Damage to Your Overall Health
Now that you have an idea of what will happen in your mouth, let’s take a look at what can happen in the rest of your body when you are living with gum disease. Many of these concerns are in the midst of being researched, but we don’t fully understand all of the connections between gum disease and these conditions, only that there are definite connections!
Heart Disease – Heart disease and gum disease seem to go hand in hand more than we would care to admit. The theory is that gum disease bacteria gets in the bloodstream, attaches to blood platelets, and causes clots, which leads to heart disease.
Cancer – Gum disease is linked to many forms of cancer, but some of the most alarming research done in a large group of men found that men who had gum disease were nearly 65% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer later in life.
Diabetes – Diabetes and gum disease are well linked. Diabetes makes your immune system weaker, which allows gum disease infections. Gum disease makes it more difficult to control diabetes. To have both is to have a vicious cycle!
Gum Disease Prevention is Key
The key to avoiding all of the hassle and poor health associated with gum disease is to avoid gum disease! How is this possible? It’s more simple than you might realize! In fact, if you are taking excellent care of your teeth and gums, you have very little to worry about!
Brushing – Brush your teeth twice each day to remove bacteria from your teeth and gums. Be sure to brush along the gumline!
Flossing – Flossing is very important when considering gum disease. Floss removes bacteria from below the gumline and between your teeth, where infections like to begin!
Routine Cleanings – Coming into the office for cleanings every six months is another great way to prevent infection. If we see the beginnings of an infection, we can clean it out before it causes any real damage!
Antibacterial Rinse – If you struggle with gum disease infections, we might recommend that you use an antibacterial rinse to help remove some of the excess bacteria from your mouth.
Make an Appointment Today!
Are you ready to have a healthier smile today? Contact our office to set up your next cleaning or exam. We would love to see you soon!