The Long-Term Effects of Gum Disease

Oral health can affect many aspects of your life, from eating, smiling, and laughing to your confidence and self-image. When people think about maintaining their oral health, they often pay more attention to their teeth than to their gums. This may be why over half of Americans have some form of gum disease. Unfortunately, gum disease is a very serious problem that leads to severe consequences if left untreated.

At the Silberg Center for Dental Science, we are committed to proving you with total oral care. Learn more about how gum disease damages your oral health.

Gingivitis and its Effects

Although gums disease starts slowly, it can quickly turn into a serious problem if left untreated. In the beginning stages of gum disease, plaque is hardening and turning into tartar. Once tartar has built up on your teeth, professional attention is required to remove it. During this phase of gum disease, called gingivitis, patients will experience gums that bleed when they brush and floss. Other early signs of gum disease include bright red, inflamed, or swollen gums. While there are no irreversible, long term effects at this point, it is essential to seek help immediately. Gum disease can quickly turn from mild to severe as tartar, full of dangerous bacteria and deposits, starts to spread down below the gum line.

Periodontitis and its Effects

Left untreated, gingivitis can turn to periodontitis. As tartar advances, the gums pull away from the teeth, forming periodontal pockets which harbor even more bacteria. These pockets allow the infection to live on in an area that you can’t reach with brushing or flossing. As your body tries to fight the infection, its antibodies also attack many of your healthy cells, so the condition of your gums and the underlying bone will rapidly deteriorate. The effects of periodontitis include receding gums, bone damage, and tooth loss. In fact, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

A smile full of missing teeth makes eating and speaking hard, but that isn't its worst effect. There is also a correlation between serious gum disease and overall physical health problems. Although the mechanism behind the correlation is still unknown, periodontitis has been specifically linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and premature birth. It is becoming clearer and clearer that allowing even a small aspect of your health to be compromised has profound effects on the whole.

Don’t be one of the 65 million American adults that suffers from gum disease; contact us if you are looking in Pittsburgh for gum disease treatment. And remember, the staff at At the Silberg Center for Dental Science is ready to help you get the care you need to take control of your oral health. Dr. Silberg, your exceptional periodontist in Pittsburgh, can give you back your healthy smile. Give us a call today!

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