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Healthy Gums are Part of a Healthy Smile

Posted on May 1st, 2018

What makes a smile great?

Most people would agree that you want a full set of healthy, clean teeth … which is why it’s incredibly important that you keep your mouth free from gum disease.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If you make flossing part of your daily oral hygiene routine along with regular checkups at Atlanta West Dentistry a few times each year, you are much, much less likely to suffer the consequences of gum disease.

You can call (770) 941-6979 today to make your next appointment at our office in Marietta, GA. Your gum health is important for your smile … but it can affect your overall health, too, in ways that you may not realize.


How Gum Disease Progresses

Gum disease is a silent health epidemic across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half (47.2 percent) of adults 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease. Among those 65 and older, roughly 7 in 10 have some kind of gum infection.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Part of the issue is only 40 percent of Americans floss daily, according to a recent survey by the American Dental Association. Meanwhile, 20 percent of people never floss.

That means more than half of people unknowingly leave untouched particles of food between their teeth. That’s good for bacteria that form plaque and cause gum disease.

If you don’t clean between your teeth, you may notice some changes in your mouth. Your gums may appear redder or puffier than usual. They may even bleed when you do floss or when you brush your teeth.

These are signs of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. It’s possible to reverse this problem by improving your daily hygiene habits.

If not, other issues may develop. Pockets may form in your gums created a space between them and your teeth. You may notice you have bad breath that never seems to go away.

And in the advanced stages of what we call periodontitis, your teeth can feel loose or fall out.


Gum Disease Can Affect Your Overall Health

The effects of gum disease aren’t limited to your mouth, either.

Decades of research has led to a conclusion that having gum disease increases your risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems. The same bacteria that cause periodontal problems has been found in the hearts of heart attack victims.

Obviously, there are other issues that can raise your risk of cardiovascular problems as well, but gum disease is one thing you already know how to fight.

If you have diabetes, you are more prone to develop gum disease. One hypothesis is that diabetics are more likely to have dry mouth, which increases your risk for gum disease.

At the same time, having gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar level. In other words, a periodontal infection can put you at greater risk of suffering complications as a result of diabetes.

Some connections between gum disease and systemic problems are still being researched. However, there are reasons to believe gum infections could affect your bone health, respiratory issues, and possibly some forms of cancer.


Keep Your Gums As Healthy As They Can Be

We are ready and able to help if you have noticed any of the symptoms we described early. We offer some of the most advanced gum disease treatments you’ll find in modern dentistry at our practice.

We often start with basic care, including scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar buildup below your gumline. We also may prescribe an antibiotic gel to reduce your risk of reinfection.

For more advanced cases, we often use laser dentistry to remove infected gum tissue. The laser causes the infected tissue to evaporate while sealing the healthy tissue. This way most people don’t need stitches. It also reduces recovery time compared to traditional gum surgeries.

It may go without saying, but prevention is the best approach to gum disease. This is why we hope you will start (or continue) brushing twice a day and flossing every day.

We also encourage you to call (770) 941-6979 or to contact us online. We hope you see you soon for a dental cleaning and exam at Atlanta West Dentistry for the sake of your health and for the sake of your smile.