Gum disease — also known as periodontal disease — is one of the most common issues Dr. Hannah Baek sees here at Healthy Smile Dental. This condition develops when the bacteria builds up on your teeth, causing an infection in your gum tissue. What many people don’t realize is that this oral health problem can impact your entire body, not just your mouth.
Here’s what you need to know about gum disease and the role it plays in your overall health.
Recognizing the signs of gum disease
When you have gum disease, you basically have an infection. That’s because bacteria that naturally lives and grows in your mouth can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. When this occurs, an infection in your gums usually isn’t too far behind.
In the earliest stages, gum disease may not cause symptoms. But, as it progresses, there are signs to watch for, including:
- Bleeding while flossing and brushing
- Swollen or inflamed gums
- Chronic bad breath
Gum disease can also cause your gums to recede and your teeth to move or shift out of position.
How gum disease affects your overall health
Most infections can wreak havoc on your health and complicate existing health problems. But, gum disease, in particular, is especially dangerous.
While this bacteria may start in your mouth, they can actually move throughout your bloodstream, easily reaching and impacting other parts of your body. As a result, gum disease is often linked to heart disease, and there’s also a link to diabetes. In fact, diabetes and gum disease often go hand in hand.
When you have diabetes, it can actually contribute to and worsen infections, which can make it difficult for organs in the body to work properly. And, because gum disease doesn't always have obvious symptoms, it’s easy for the infection to exist for some time, causing a host of other health issues as well.
Stopping gum disease in its tracks
One of the biggest steps you can take to avoid gum disease involves practicing good oral hygiene. So, don’t forget to brush and floss twice a day. It’s also crucial to follow a healthy diet, because some foods — especially those high in sugar — can increase plaque and cause more buildup. You should also watch your teeth and gums closely for any changes so you can get dental care immediately, which helps avoid serious problems before they arise.
But, above all, the most important key to preventing gum disease is scheduling dental checkups and cleanings every six months. These routine visits can help you learn the status of your teeth and gums so you can address issues in the earliest stages. After all, Dr. Baek can’t treat problems if she doesn’t know they exist.
And, even if you have a fear or phobia of the dentist, Dr. Baek can help. Under her compassionate and skilled care, you can expect a relaxed and comfortable visit that is fear-free.
At Healthy Smile Dental, Dr. Baek not only specializes in general dentistry, but she also offers cosmetic and emergency dental services, endodontics, orthodontic procedures, and treatment for sleep apnea and snoring. That means Healthy Smile Dental is truly a one-stop-shop for all your dental needs. And we’re open Sundays and evenings.
Contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 630-296-5396 or booking through our website today!