Hegewisch, IL
(773) 646-4664

Burbank, IL
(708) 424-5650

Close up of a woman's mouth with gum inflammation

More than half of all adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease. It is a dental health problem caused by bacteria that can cause inflammation and bleeding gums, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Understanding gum disease’s severity is crucial to detecting it early and maintaining oral health. If you think you may be suffering from gum disease, it is vital to seek professional dental help to prevent it from worsening.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel and gum tissue. If plaque is not removed regularly, it can build up and harden into tartar, which can only be removed with professional cleaning.

There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis (mild or early gum disease) can progress to periodontitis (advanced gum disease) if left untreated.

Gingivitis

The condition’s early stages are called gingivitis, where plaque buildup leads to redness, swelling, and bleeding during brushing or flossing. Diagnosing gingivitis begins with a physical examination of the gums. If the gums are significantly inflamed and pockets greater than 5 mm in depth are found, you may have gingivitis.

Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. In this stage, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets where plaque and tartar can accumulate. The bacteria in these pockets can damage the bone and ligaments that support the teeth, leading to tooth loss.

Risks Associated with Gum Disease

Beyond its more immediate risks, such as pain and eventual tooth loss, gum disease has been linked to many other serious health conditions, including:

Malnutrition

Gum disease can cause malnutrition because the inflammation and infection associated with gum disease make it difficult to eat and digest food properly. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also release toxins that can damage the intestinal lining and interfere with nutrient absorption.

Cardiovascular Disease

A study found that individuals with gum disease are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease. This is because the bacteria that cause gum disease can also enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries leading to the heart. Gum disease can also lead to an increased risk of blood clots, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Diabetes

Gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to the development of diabetes. It also creates an environment conducive to the growth of harmful bacteria, which can also contribute to the development of Diabetes. Studies have shown that a person’s periodontal treatment is associated with improved glycaemic control.

Respiratory Illness

A 2012 study found that people with gum disease are three times more likely to develop respiratory illness than those without gum disease. The risk of respiratory illness increases as the severity of gum disease increases.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, causing inflammation and pain. It is not yet known what causes this condition, but there is evidence that gum disease may be a factor. iOne study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have gum disease than those without the condition.

Treatment for Gum Disease

If you have gum disease, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment options include:

  • Scaling and root planing: This procedure involves scraping and cleaning the teeth and roots to remove plaque and tartar.
  • Antibiotic therapy: In some cases, antibiotic treatment may be recommended to help treat the infection.
  • Surgery: If the gum disease is severe, you may need gum flap surgery to remove infected tissue and tartar below the gum line. Or you may need a gum graft to restore receded gum tissue.

Protect Your Periodontal Health

If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, visit TruBlu Dentistry for a consultation. We offer local anesthesia administered pain-free with DentalVibe, making your experience as comfortable as possible. Contact us today at our offices in Burbank at (708) 424-5650 or Hegewisch at (773) 646-4664.

Be proud of your smile.