Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Are they tender, red, or swollen? Do you have bad breath that just doesn’t go away no matter what you do? If you do, you might be part of the 80 percent of Americans who have gum disease. However, just because gum disease is common, that doesn’t mean it should go untreated. The condition could get worse over time and result in other problems, including heart disease. Since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to talk about how untreated gum disease can lead to a stroke. Read on to learn how gum disease therapy in Melbourne can prevent strokes.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums, typically caused by poor oral hygiene. It starts out with only a mild infection, but without treatment it can lead to tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue surrounding the tooth.
Symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Constant bad breath
- Loose teeth as an adult
The condition starts out as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums. If allowed to progress it becomes periodontitis, or gum disease. Not all cases of gingivitis turn into periodontitis.
In the early stages, bacteria in plaque build up and make the gums inflamed, causing bleeding during brushing. As the infection grows, it can become periodontitis, when the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. This can make teeth loose and eventually cause them to fall out.
How is Gum Disease Linked to Strokes?
Your gums are full of blood vessels. When gum tissue recedes due to gum disease, the increased number of bacteria in your mouth have easier access to those blood vessels and, by extension, the rest of your bloodstream. They can then travel to your heart, where they can cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis makes it more difficult for blood to flow to and from your heart, leading to heart disease and stroke.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
There are a few simple habits that can help keep gum disease at bay:
- Schedule dental cleanups and checkups with your dentist in Melbourne at least twice a year.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush so as to not irritate your gums.
- Floss once a day.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit sugary snacks.
How Does Gum Disease Therapy in Melbourne Work?
When caught in the early stages of gingivitis, you can be easily treated. Your dental hygienist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning to remove buildup of plaque, and provide you with tips for better oral care at home.
Treatment for more advanced periodontitis might require an additional appointment. At this appointment, your dentist will either perform:
- Root scaling, or cleaning teeth beneath the gumline
- Root planning, or smoothing the rough areas on your roots
You might also have an antibiotic applied directly to the affected areas to fight off the bacterial infection.
If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, no matter how mild they are, be sure to alert your dentist right away. Treating gum disease is easier the earlier it’s caught. Remember that you’re not only protecting the health of your mouth, but your heart as well!
About the Practice
At Creating Beautiful Smiles, we are proud to offer comforting and relaxing dental care to our patients in the Melbourne, FL area. Dr. Richardson has lectured to national audiences about esthetic dentistry, and is the past president and current board member of Florida’s Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Trantham is a new addition to our team, who has completed hundred of hours of contuining education courses to provide his patients with the latest and greatest in cosmetic dentistry. To learn about how they can give you a beautiful smile, click here or call (321)-723-3477.