We have learnt that the absence of regular tooth brushing and flossing will lead to gingivitis. This condition is a milder form of gum disease which is reversible with proper tooth brushing and flossing.
When left untreated, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis and it will affect the bone supporting the teeth, causing bone loss and gum pockets formation.
Some of the classic signs and symptoms of Periodontitis are:
• Receding gums which makes your teeth look longer than normal
• New spaces developing between your teeth
• Bad breath
• Loose teeth
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Relationship between Gum Health and Overall Health
• Cardiovascular Disease
It has been shown that a person with periodontal disease is two times more at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. High levels of bacteria in the mouth of a person suffering from periodontal disease can enter the blood stream and affect the heart by attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary or heart vessels. This will then lead to formation of clots that may cause blockage, leading to heart attacks.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of serious gum disease (periodontitis) because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have lesser resistance against the bacteria that invade gums.
• Pregnancy and low birth weight babies
Research has shown a close connection between gum disease and pregnancy complications such as pre-term delivery. According to the American Association of Periodontology, pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to have early deliveries.
How To Avoid Periodontitis?
Our mouth is said to be a window to our general health and well-being. Proper daily brushing and flossing helps keep oral health in check.
However, daily brushing and home maintenance is not enough, regular visits to the dentist are also important. We recommend an interval of 6 months between visits. For patients who already have periodontal disease, we recommend visits to the dentist every 3 to 4 months. With regular visits, your dentist will be able to detect early signs of periodontal disease and administer treatment to improve or check it.