Periodontal disease is a pretty common dental problem. In fact, half of U.S. adults have been diagnosed with the advanced gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your gum disease has progressed to this advanced stage, you have more to worry about than puffy gums and bleeding when you brush your teeth. Periodontal disease is a serious oral health issue that can affect other parts of your body. Here are some of the dangers that come with periodontal disease:
One of the most common causes of missing teeth is periodontal disease. Once this oral health condition reaches the advanced stage, your gums will pull away from your teeth, eventually causing the teeth to fall out. Missing teeth can affect more than your physical appearance. If you don't have all your teeth, speaking clearly and chewing properly can also become very difficult.
Women who develop periodontal disease during pregnancy are in danger of delivering their baby too early. When oral bacteria reaches the bloodstream, your immune system can tell your uterus that it's time to deliver the baby. A premature baby is more likely to be underweight and have other health issues.
Advanced gum disease can also lead to heart problems. If oral bacteria makes its way into your bloodstream, it can attach to the heart blood vessels and cause blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack.
If you have been diagnosed with advanced gum disease, you may also be at risk of respiratory problems. The bacteria in your gums can make its way to your lungs and cause pneumonia and other severe health issues.
How Do You Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease can have dangerous consequences, so it's best to avoid it in the first place. Even if you have a family history of gum disease, it's still possible to prevent it by following good oral hygiene habits. Here are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease in the future:
Remind Yourself to Floss: Daily flossing is one of the most effective ways to protect against gum disease, but you might have trouble remembering to do it all the time. One thing you can do is set up a daily reminder on your smartphone. Once you are reminded to floss every day, you will be able to remove hardened plaque from underneath your gums and prevent infections.
Stop Smoking: If you smoke, you have yet another reason to quit the habit. Smoking tobacco can increase the risk periodontal disease by lowering your immune system. If you already have gum disease, smoking can make you develop deeper periodontal pockets. Quitting smoking can be difficult to do on your own, so don't hesitate to ask your doctor for assistance.
Check Your Medication: Medications that cause dry mouth can lead to gum disease. If your mouth stops producing an adequate amount of saliva, your mouth won't be able to wash away plaque and bacteria as easily. If dry mouth is a side effect of your medication, you should talk to your doctor about other options.
Include Vitamin C In Your Diet: If healthy gums are your goal, you should definitely eat plenty of vitamin-C-rich foods, like papaya, oranges, and strawberries. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and reduces the risk of infections, including the ones in your mouth.
Don't Skip Dental Visits: Even if your gums seem to be in good shape, always visit the dentist every six months for a checkup. If your dentist detects early signs of gum disease, he can recommend different treatments.
For more information on periodontal disease and the available treatments, contact a dental office like the Cloverleaf Dental Center.