If you’re 65 years old or older, you’re more likely than not to have periodontal disease. Even for younger people, 30 years or older, the statistic is surprising: about half have periodontal disease, according to the CDC. In other words, it’s incredibly common. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Dr. Nataly Vilderman and her staff see many patients who have periodontal disease and aren’t even aware of it. Before the disease is too advanced, regular dental cleanings and exams can prevent it from getting worse. Even if the disease reaches a more advanced stage, Dr. Vilderman offers gum rejuvenation to help.
Periodontal disease is sometimes called gum disease and it is often the result of infection and inflammation of your gums. Your gums have an important job—they hold your teeth in your mouth.
Bacteria from the food you eat builds up on teeth and forms a hard substance called plaque between your gums and teeth. If it’s not removed through careful dental hygiene and regular professional dental cleanings, plaque causes gum infections.
In the earliest stages, periodontal disease is called gingivitis, and it causes tender, swollen gums that may bleed. Gingivitis can be reversed. In later stages, periodontal disease can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth and your teeth may even fall out.
Researchers have found associations between some cardiovascular issues and periodontal disease, possibly due to the chronic inflammation caused by periodontal disease. The bacteria in your mouth can make you more susceptible to heart disease, arterial blockages, and stroke.
There is also a link between type 2 diabetes and gum disease and it seems that having one makes the other more difficult to control. If you have diabetes, you may not be able to fight off infection as well, and the infection may make it more difficult to control your blood sugar.
Another chronic condition that seems to be associated with periodontal disease is rheumatoid arthritis. This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects your joints.
Periodontal disease can increase the likelihood of an early delivery for pregnant women. Having gum disease means that your baby is at a higher risk of being born preterm and having a low birthweight.
Excellent at-home dental hygiene combined with regular visits with Dr. Vilderman is the best defense against developing periodontal disease.
However, if you do have periodontal disease, there are treatments to help. A deep cleaning called scaling and root planing removes plaque from between your gums and your teeth, which allows your gums to reattach to your teeth. In more advanced cases, Dr. Vilderman may recommend periodontal surgery.
If your gums are tender and bleed when you brush, don’t wait! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Vilderman today and protect your oral health.