Treatment for Gum Disease
TREATMENT FOR GUM DISEASE
In 2003 the World Health Organization published a comprehensive report on oral health showing that more than 80% of adults in the US have some form of gum disease. Unfortunately, most of these people don’t know it.
The symptoms of gum disease include:
• Bleeding gums
• Sensitive teeth
• Obvious plaque, tartar or calculus
• Persistent bad breath
• Swollen, red or tender gums
• Spaces developing between your teeth
• Receding gums (teeth appear longer)
• Loose or mobile teeth
People who have a family history of gum disease may be genetically predisposed and need to discuss ways to protect their health with their doctor.
These symptoms are part of your body’s response to a bacterial infection in the gum tissue. Many people ignore the symptoms because they cannot see the infections, but they are serious. If you had an open, bleeding wound in your hand you would treat it. The infected wounds in your mouth should also be treated.
Treatment is important because gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss and because research has linked oral bacterial infections to:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart disease
• Blood clots and stroke
• Respiratory disease
• Preterm and low birth weight babies
How the Disease Starts
When food, bacteria or tartar are not sufficiently cleaned from the teeth, a community of bacteria called a biofilm can develop and cause infections in the space, or pocket, between the teeth and gum tissue. . Left unchecked, the protected communities of bacteria and their byproducts in periodontal pockets can lead to the destruction of your teeth and the bone supporting your teeth.
The most common way to treat oral bacteria is a professional cleaning procedure called “scaling and root planning” or “deep cleaning” that physically removes oral biofilm. Unfortunately, bacteria are continually reintroduced into the mouth and oral biofilms regenerate very easily, so it is difficult to control them between office visits.
Dr. Dovidio will prescribe the best medication for your condition as well as individualized treatment instructions.
How Gum Disease Affects the Rest of Your Body
One of the theories that has emerged from studies indicates that the infection in gum tissue may provide a point of entry for bacteria to invade your body. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, bacteria are likely forming in communities in periodontal pockets, the space that develops between the teeth and gum tissue. These communities of bacteria cause localized inflammation and damage your gum tissue, and they may enter the blood stream through small open sores to spread throughout the body.
Bacteria also produce pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as endotoxins, that research links to wider inflammatory effects in your body, so it is important to talk to your doctor about your risk factors and treat any infected areas of your mouth.