Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and early death are all associated with inflammation and gum disease. As evidence continues to mount, almost every dentist and oral surgeon in Chicago will agree on the importance of excellent oral hygiene to improve and maintain dental health. One of the most important things you can do to maintain and improve your overall health is to take good care of your teeth and gums.
Gingivitis (gum disease) is a serious problem, and when it goes undetected or ignored, it can lead to serious adverse health issues and complicated dental surgeries. Because our mouths are linked to other parts of our body, it is extremely important to diligently maintain the health of the oral cavity.
A good, daily oral hygiene routine is critical to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. Additionally, regular dental visits can help you avoid serious oral health issues by ensuring small problems don’t go unnoticed. This applies to everyone – from the person with seemingly perfect teeth, to the individual who has a mouth filled with crowns and bridges.
Gum Disease Should Never Go Untreated
While routine dental exams and regularly scheduled, professional cleanings help keep your teeth healthy, they are equally as important in the fight against gum disease. In fact, the number one cause of adult tooth loss is periodontal disease – not decay or trauma.
Gum disease begins insidiously, often with very minor symptoms which you may dismiss as nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, while gingivitis begins with the gums, left untreated, it will ultimately lead to periodontal disease that can wreak havoc on the underlying support tissues and jawbone. This will eventually cause the tooth to loosen and fall out, or necessitate a tooth extraction.
However, that is just the beginning of the damage that gum disease can cause. As gingivitis spreads and periodontitis sets in, the accompanying infection can spread well beyond the teeth, gums, and jawbone. Infection leads to inflammation, which is simply the body trying to fight infection (or heal an injury caused by trauma) by means of the inflammatory response. This is a natural mechanism that causes increased blood flow and extra white blood cells to flood the problematic location.
Unfortunately, when a chronic infection is not brought under control by the body’s immune system or corrective treatment, the continuing inflammatory response also becomes chronic. This can lead to worsening health issues throughout the entire body. Arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease are all suspected to be caused, or exacerbated, by inflammation.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Increased Risk of Mortality
Gum disease is consistently linked to serious inflammatory conditions. So, it is not surprising that a 2017 study showed a direct correlation between periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cardiovascular-disease-related death in post-menopausal women.
Gum disease is also linked to an increased risk of serious complications in patients with diabetes. Unfortunately, due to the nature of both diseases, it often becomes almost impossible to control either once gum disease gets a foothold. An experienced dentist is key to successful treatment and a good outcome. Depending on the situation, it may sometimes be necessary to schedule oral surgery in Chicago, IL for the diabetic patient.
Increased inflammation is also linked to cancer, as indicated in two large studies coming out of Harvard in 2020. Tracking almost 150,000 men and women, over 28 years, the results concluded a greatly increased risk of both esophageal and gastric cancers.
Preventing Periodontal Infection
While gum disease can lead to increased risk for serious illness, you should know that it is not terribly difficult to maintain your oral health. This will help to prevent both gingivitis and periodontal infection. Taking control of your overall health often begins with small, manageable steps. A good place to start is with your oral health – as it can provide a large impact without requiring a great deal of effort.
We recommend certain simple steps that can help you avoid gum disease and the inflammatory conditions that put your health at risk. These include:
- Twice daily brushing and flossing to clear away tartar and bacterial plaques.
- Scheduling regular dental visits and professional dental cleanings.
- Stopping smoking to prevent both tooth decay and gum disease.
- Adopting a healthy diet to strengthen your immune system, lose weight, and reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases.
- Seeing your dentist right away if you notice any sign of oral infection or inflammation.
Another important aspect of attaining – and maintaining – excellent oral health is finding an excellent dentist. The right dentist will provide exceptional dental care using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Furthermore, every aspect of the dental practice should make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
At Chicago Dental Arts, arguably the best dentist in Chicago, Illinois, we want you to enjoy a healthy smile and a long and healthy life. If you think you might be seeing the beginning signs of gum disease, we invite you to reach out to our highly skilled dental team today. Our friendly staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have, as well as provide information about our treatments.