There are several different things that can cause gum disease, but the most common cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Your gums react to the presence of plaque by swelling. This allows the plaque to work its way below your gumline, allowing bacteria to enter your system.
Most people understand that gum disease can result in bad breath, loose teeth, and problems with your jaw. However, if your gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to problems beyond your mouth. For example, if you live with diabetes, gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar, and your symptoms may become worse. If you inhale the bacteria from gum disease over time, you may develop a respiratory infection. If the bacteria makes its way into your bloodstream your arteries can harden, plaque can form on the walls of your arteries and can cause the walls of your heart valves. The result can be an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Should that bacteria reach your nervous system you could be facing dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease. Your dentist may suggest that you spend a little more time brushing and flossing. You may need medication or surgery depending on the severity of your gum disease, or a deep cleaning may help. You can help prevent gum disease by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist for your regular cleanings and exams.
Some of the symptoms of gum disease include loose teeth, receding gums, or gums that are swollen, tender, or bleed when you brush or floss. Healthy gums are pink in color, and if your gums are bright red or even blue, you may have gum disease. If you are concerned about gum disease, or if it is just time for your regular cleaning and exam, our dentist, Dr. Sara Sheikh would love to see you. If you live in the Kennebunk, Maine, area and would like to schedule an appointment at Kennebunk Center for Dentistry, you can call 207-985-7944 today.