Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a main cause of tooth loss for adults. It is also incredibly common, with most people having to deal with some form of it during their lifetimes. However, just because it is common does not mean that it isn’t something you need to be concerned about. When allowed to progress, this disease that starts in your gums can end up affecting your entire body by heightening your risk for other diseases. In today’s blog, your Lake Orion, MI, dentist will discuss periodontal disease and the newly discovered link to a higher risk of stroke.
What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the bacteria that lives in the plaque on your teeth. The infection begins as gingivitis, which is its only reversible stage. As it progresses, it can no longer be reversed, and simply needs to be managed to avoid some of the unsavory side effects that it can cause. So, it is important to be on the lookout for any warning signs of gum infection to increase your chances of recovery.
What Are the Warning Signs?
While gingivitis and periodontal disease are usually painless, there are signs that you can watch out for, including:
- Gum sensitivity
- Bleeding from your gums when brushing or flossing, or at any other time
- Redness or swelling of your gums
- Receding gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Teeth becoming loose or shifting around, giving you an uneven bite
- Persistent bad breath
How Is It Linked to Stroke?
While research is being constantly conducted to find out if the hypothesized links between gum disease and many other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be proven, researchers have recently discovered that bleeding and inflamed gums actually change the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Because of this, your risk of stroke could double if you also suffer from periodontal disease. This is not something to be taken lightly, so, if you exhibit any potential signs of gum infection, you should talk to your dentist right away.
How to Prevent It
Luckily, since gum disease is caused by plaque, it is possible to prevent it by practicing good oral hygiene. Taking care to brush your teeth for two full minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and to floss thoroughly each day should rid your mouth of most plaque. Anything that is left over can be removed at your dental checkups and professional cleanings, which you should attend at least twice a year to increase your chances of preventing disease and catching it early enough to reverse it.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you ever have any questions about dental healthcare, what’s normal, and what isn’t, we want to help you find the answers! And, if you are showing any signs of periodontal disease, you should contact us right away. To schedule an appointment, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, MI, today at 248-693-6213.