Gum disease — also known as periodontal disease and periodontitis — is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding a tooth, and is the leading cause of tooth loss. Gingivitis is a bacterial infection of the tissues in the mouth and potential precursor of gum disease.
Once gum disease sets in, the toxins produced by the bacteria damage the teeth’s connective tissue and bone, effectively destroying them and fostering tooth loss.
The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums. Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth and if not removed adequately with proper brushing and flossing will accumulate into tartar ledges(calcium or calculus deposits on the teeth and roots) and produce toxins that eat away at the gums and supporting bone.
Oral pain can also be a sign of a dental infection. These can crop up quickly and spread like fire through the mouth and the rest of the body. Dental infections can spread into the deeper tissues of the neck, leading to obstruction of the airway, kidney damage, brain abscesses or heart-valve infections. Dental infections have also been known to eat through the skin in jaws, faces and necks, burrow into brains and, yes, even kill people.
Mild gum infections, called gingivitis, may lead to red and swollen gums, but are not especially dangerous. Unless they worsen into periodontitis, chronic gum infections that can degrade bony sockets and ligaments that hold teeth in place. Gum-disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and move to the heart, creating life-threatening infections in previously damaged heart valves.
Scientists also believe the resulting inflammation releases infection-fighting compounds that can damage other tissues, such as the arteries. People with periodontitis are twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to die from a stroke, according to a study that examined the medical histories of 1,147 people.
Dentists can also spot signs of gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, skin diseases, autoimmune diseases and more. Looking at your mouth may alert your dentist to the fact that you have diabetes. A lot of changes happening in the body are easier to see in the mouth. Many changes in the body’s health cause colour changes, small sores and a change in saliva that a dentist can identify, sometimes with just a look.
Healthy teeth and gums let us talk, smile, laugh and kiss without embarrassment. That’s reason enough to take care of our oral health. But as medical science reaffirms that head and body are indeed connected, there are more reasons than ever to brush twice a day, floss daily, get dental checkups every six months and see a dentist promptly when you have a problem.