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Your Attention Please for Some Interesting Facts About Gum Disease

September 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathylamdds @ 10:38 pm
Lady shows inflamed gums

Nearly half of Americans over the age of thirty have gum disease. The most tragic thing about the situation is that this uncomfortable, gross, and destructive condition can usually be completely avoided with proper dental care. In honor of Gum Care Month this September, here are a few interesting facts about gum disease to help you understand the risks and keep up the important work of preventing it.

Gum Disease Is Contagious

You might think that gum disease would be content to stay in the gums it starts in, but this is unfortunately not true. Gum disease can be spread from one person to another in several ways. Ever share a plate of chips and queso with friends? Double-dipping in a shared bowl can spread gum disease. Ever sip from the same beverage as another person? That can transmit the bacteria. Do you enjoy kissing loved ones? Might you ever need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? Oral contact can provide gum disease with a direct path to a new set of gums.

Pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of developing gum disease, so many OB doctors recommend that their patients receive regular dental exams. This doesn’t only help gum disease from developing in expectant mothers but also from being passed to the unborn child.

Gum Disease Threatens the Rest of Your Body

Gum disease starts as inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. If this goes untreated, it can progress to its more severe form called periodontitis, which can result in receding gums and tooth loss. To make matters worse, the bacteria in this stage can spread to other parts of the body through the circulatory system where they can potentially cause life-threatening secondary infections like sepsis. These bacteria in the bloodstream may also lead to plaque developing in the blood vessels, which strains the circulatory system and contributes to the likelihood of heart disease.

Gum Disease and Diabetes Can Work Together to Bring You Down

If left untreated, gum disease becomes a chronic infection, and the body’s constant effort to fight it will strain the endocrine system. This is why gum disease increases the likelihood of developing diabetes or makes it worse if you already have it. Diabetes, in turn, reduces the immune system’s ability to fight infection, meaning that it can make gum disease more likely to develop or worse if you already have it. Having diabetes and gum disease together can become a vicious cycle where each worsens the other.

If you were thinking that gum disease isn’t a big deal, reading this has hopefully helped you change your mind. The best way to prevent gum disease is by making wise eating decisions, practicing excellent oral hygiene, and keeping up with regular dental appointments. If you stick with these, you can reasonably expect a lifetime of healthy gums.

About the Author

Dr. Kathy Lam earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery at Howard University College of Dentistry in 2002 before completing a residency at Waterbury Hospital Health Center in Connecticut. She has since stayed abreast of the latest developments in dental techniques through continuing education courses. Her office in Wheaton, IL offers general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry in addition to periodontal treatments. For more information on preventing gum disease, contact her office online or dial (630) 653-7720.

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