More than likely, you have heard about the dangers of gingivitis during routine visits to your dentist. While people are aware that gingivitis (gum disease) is a common oral health condition, many folks don’t know that gum disease can literally ruin your oral health and even affect your overall well-being. If gingivitis isn’t treated with meticulous oral hygiene and professional intervention, it can manifest into a systemic oral infection that may enter the bloodstream. Recent studies have shown that gum disease correlates to the incidence of problematic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
How Gingivitis Develops
Gingivitis commonly begins when patients neglect proper oral hygiene. When we do not floss or brush properly, plaque will accumulate and harden into tartar within a couple days. As tartar and plaque accumulate along the gums, they will inflame the gingival tissue. Inflamed gums have a heightened risk for infection, which can lead to chronic gum disease. Moreover, tartar cannot be removed with home care practices. It must be scraped away by dental professionals. This is why tartar accumulation is so dangerous to oral health.
The Progression of Untreated Gum Disease
If gum disease is not caught and treated at an early stage, managing the condition becomes more complex. As tartar accumulates, the gums will recede and expose more of the tooth’s roots to oral debris and bacteria. Inflamed and infected gums paired with the exposed roots of teeth mean that advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and bone loss over time. Pathogens that infect the gums can enter the bloodstream. Research suggests that the pathogens in gum disease attach to plaque in the arteries of the cardiovascular system and may contribute to heart disease. Moreover, the chronic and persistent oral infection associated with gum disease can weaken the immune system, thus affecting a person’s overall well-being.
How to Protect Your Health
Protecting your health begins at home. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth properly and frequently. In addition to committing to a thorough oral hygiene regimen, you should visit our dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Routine appointments increase the chances of catching health problems early on.
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