Gum disease affects close to 50% of U.S. adults. The condition occurs when plaque builds up and hardens along your gumline.

If left untreated, it leads to tooth loss and in some cases, more complicated health issues.

Signs and Symptoms

Many dental patients don’t realize they have gum disease until it is too late. It’s important to watch for signs of this condition, in order to treat it promptly.

Gingivitis is one of the initial stages. Your gums will be swollen and bleed easily, you may also have tooth sensitivity. It’s a good idea to book an appointment with your Spokane South Hill dentist as soon as you see these signs emerge. Gingivitis signals that your gums have excessive bacteria build-up, known as plaque. If you don’t address gingivitis, it leads to periodontal disease. Symptoms of this stage include bleeding and swollen gums, sensitive teeth, tooth pain, and a receding gum line. Infections might develop, which creates even more tooth pain and can spread to your jawbone. This could cause tooth loss and bone damage.

man suffering from a toothache

While you want to protect your oral health, if you don’t treat the condition, it can worsen, affecting your overall health. Experts state gum disease is a significant factor in five severe health conditions.

Gum Disease Can Lead To 5  Serious Health Conditions

1. Heart Issues

Harvard Health experts reveal patients with gum disease have up to three times the risk of a serious cardiovascular event or heart attack.

2. Stroke

The Oral Health Foundation cites research that those with gum disease have an increased risk of a stroke. This is because the condition enhances the body’s ability to carry added inflammation. Studies reveal that when inflammation hits the gums, it alters how oxygen and blood flow to your brain.

3. Diabetes

Gum disease raises blood sugar levels in your mouth which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Those with diabetes not under control are more susceptible to gum disease, too.

4. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This study shows RA patients were likelier to have gum disease, versus those without RA. In fact, participants with severe gum disease also had RA. Those with the most plaque build-up, gum inflammation, and bleeding had the worst RA symptoms.

5. Infertility

Finally, emerging research indicates a connection between gum disease and infertility. This applies to both men and women. For men, there’s a link between erectile dysfunction and poor sperm health. Females who suffer from endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are likely to have gum disease.

There’s also a connection between this condition and other health issues. They include:

  • Hardened arteries
  • Pregnancy complications (low-birth-weight and preterm labor)
  • Dementia
  • Types of cancers, including lung, throat, breast, and colon cancer

Treatment Options

The best offense is a good defense in the land of football, hockey, and basketball. The same can be said for gum disease. Brushing and flossing twice a day is something you can do from home along with eating healthy and drinking plenty of water. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups with your Spokane South Hill dentist are effective preventative measures to avoid gum disease.

There is also hope for those who currently suffer from gum disease. There are plenty of treatments available through your dentist to address the condition. Some include:

Scaling: This procedure gently removes hard plaque build-up.

Root planning: The treatment reduces tough plaque build-up areas that this sticky substance may “cling” to.

ARESTIN®: An antibiotic treatment, which battles infections that pocket under your gums.

LANAP®: As a laser procedure, it removes bacteria and promotes gum re-attachment without stitches. The recovery is quick and easy.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Lack of preventative care is a risk factor, but there are other causes, too. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history and genetics
  • Change in hormones (i.e. during pregnancy, menopause, puberty)
  • Medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, AIDS)
  • Stress
  • Some medications

Gum Disease Treatments In Spokane, WA

If you notice any of the above signs, it may be time to reach out to Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics. Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins and their dental team can help relieve painful symptoms. More importantly, they can stop periodontitis from progressing. If you want to stop gingivitis in its tracks, our office provides patients with regular cleanings and check-ups as well as other treatments. To schedule a gum treatment or professional cleaning, call us today at (509) 532-1111. You can also book an appointment online.