Gum Disease: A Silent Killer
Your soft tissues include your gums, cheeks, tongue, lips and the lining of the inside of your mouth and neck. The hard tissues we are referring to are your teeth. Healthy gums are vitally important to the health of your mouth and even your teeth health. Your gums protect the roots of your teeth and prevent dangerous bacteria from reaching your bloodstream.
Your teeth are much bigger than what they look like, and go deep into your gums. The part that goes into your gums house delicate nerves and blood vessels; those keep your teeth healthy. Gums protect this part of your teeth and hold them in place. However, if you don’t take care of your gums, they can recede, causing your teeth to fall out or to decay and causing health problems. This is why maintaining healthy gums is a necessary part of preserving your overall health.
You get plaque when sugars mix with bacteria in your mouth and stick to your teeth. When plaque sticks around too long (from not brushing or flossing enough), it causes cavities. However, not brushing and flossing plaque away can lead to gum problems as well. Over time, your gums will become red and irritated. They may even bleed easily, especially when you floss. This is the beginning of what we call “gum disease”. This first stage of irritation is known as “gingivitis”, and it’s a stage where we can easily reverse gum disease. Brushing and flossing more often (several times a day) will reverse the irritation and you will see your gums bleed less and less. You may think that gum disease is painful, but in fact, it is a silent killer for your teeth and gums.
In fact, many people don’t even know they have gum problems until gum disease is severe. If you continue to not brush and floss your teeth, or get help from a dentist, gum disease will progress. In the severe cases of this disease, your gums will continually recede until the teeth actually start to fall out. The gums will become mushy, won’t hold your teeth in place and teeth will continue to fall out after the first one. At this stage, there aren’t very many options for fixing your smile. That is why we invest our time in root planning and scaling with our patients with gum disease. We can fix problems and stop their progression before your teeth fall out.