Gum Disease

Did you know that oral health and general health are linked? When most people think about oral health problems, they assume the effects are limited to the mouth. But they are wrong. There is an oral health condition linked to many serious diseases and health conditions. However, the effects of this disease are treatable if caught in its early stages.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums caused by plaque. This stage is reversible with good oral hygiene practices. Untreated gingivitis can lead to gum disease, which may destroy gum tissue and bone. The bacteria that cause gum disease can get into the bloodstream and spread through the body.

Disease and Conditions Linked to Gum Disease

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Premature births
  • Respiratory disease

Signs of Gum Disease

Awareness of the signs of gum disease can help with detection and treatment. Healthy gums are firm and fit tightly around the teeth. If your gums bleed easily when you brush your teeth, this can indicate gum disease. Gums that are red, swollen, receding, or tender to touch may also be a sign. Other signs to look for include painful chewing, loose permanent teeth, persistent bad breath, and changes in the way teeth close together.

Risk Factors

Use of Tobacco Products — Smoking and use of smokeless tobacco are major risk factors for gum disease.

Heavy Drinking — Consistently drinking too much alcohol increases the risk of gum disease.

Uncontrolled Diabetes — Diabetics who have poorly controlled blood sugar levels significantly increase their risk of getting gum disease.

Age — The chances of having gum disease are significantly higher for people age 65 and older.

Genetics — Some people, despite having great oral hygiene habits, still develop gum disease because of family history.

HPV — Having a diagnosis of HPV increases the risk of developing gum disease.

Pregnancy — Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may cause gingivitis, which can lead to gum disease without treatment.

Diet — When the body is not getting proper nutrition, the immune system becomes compromised and more resistant to infection.

Stress — Too much stress makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections like gum disease.

Poor Oral Hygiene — When people don’t brush and floss consistently, plaque can build up and may lead to gum disease if oral hygiene practices don’t improve.

Take preventive measures against gum disease by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day, Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings. When was your last dental visit? Contact my office to schedule an appointment. We’re here to serve you.


Dr. Sehnert