At first glance, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, appears to affect your gums and teeth only. However, the effects of this condition go much further. Here is why periodontal disease is so dangerous for your overall health.
What Periodontal Disease Does to Your Body
Periodontal disease develops when your gums become inflamed from excessive plaque buildup. Chronic inflammation leads to infection, which spreads to the roots of your teeth and causes your gum line to recede. Periodontitis, the late stage of periodontal disease, eventually causes tooth loss. The harmful effects of this inflammatory disease do not stop with your teeth. Sufferers of periodontal disease have an increased risk of developing heart failure. Plaque-causing bacteria can enter the bloodstream and worsen clogged arteries. Periodontal disease also correlates with Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and preterm birth. Poor oral health is bad not just for your mouth, but for your entire body.
How You Can Prevent Periodontal Disease
While periodontal disease is common, it is also preventable. Gingivitis begins with plaque buildup, which you can fight through regular brushing, flossing, and frequent visits to your dentist.
Brushing twice daily with a soft-bristle brush is essential for good dental health. Electric toothbrushes can be more effective than traditional alternatives, as the spinning bristles automatically do part of the brushing for you. Flossing every evening is also vital, as floss can clear plaque from hard-to-reach areas of your teeth that your toothbrush cannot.
A visit to the dentist twice a year helps catch any oral health issues early to start treatment right away. Dental cleanings also help remove plaque that at-home brushing and flossing cannot, which goes a long way in preventing periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is painful at best and deadly at worst. To catch it early, be sure to pay attention to any negative changes in your oral health. If you have any gum sensitivity, bleeding, or pain in your mouth, you should see a qualified dentist immediately. Book your next appointment with us at Dental Partners of Boston today.