Healthy gums are light pink and firm. If yours have a bright pink or reddish hue, that may be a cause for concern. Gum disease starts out mild, as a condition called gingivitis. In this early stage, we can treat it and reverse it before it does too much damage.
If you let gingivitis progress, it becomes periodontitis, a much more advanced form of gum disease that doesn’t stay within the confines of your mouth.
Our team of expert periodontitis specialists at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants want to make sure all of our patients understand the dangers of unchecked gum disease. Not only can it ruin your teeth, gums, and jawbone, it can affect your overall health.
Here are some of the complications of untreated periodontitis.
Long-term inflammation wreaks havoc throughout your body, and even minor swelling — say, in your gums — adds to the overall burden of inflammation.
Your heart is particularly sensitive to inflammation, which may contribute to the fact that folks with periodontitis are 2-3 times more likely to suffer serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke.
Periodontitis affects your brain in two ways.
First, studies show a link between tooth loss and cognitive decline, especially in older people. Since periodontitis often leads to tooth loss, the correlation is worth noting.
Second, the same bacterium found in periodontitis — called Porphyromonas gingivalis — is often found in the brain tissue of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Your lungs, like your heart, tend to respond negatively to inflammation in the body. If the reaction causes inflammation of your lung tissue, it can reduce air flow and lead to respiratory complications.
What’s more, you can easily aspirate the bacteria in your diseased gums, which gives it a direct line to your lungs, where it can cause infection.
There’s a strong link between periodontitis and cancer. Although gum disease increases your overall risk for cancer, it makes you particularly vulnerable to lung cancer.
The good news is that periodontitis is treatable, and our team at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants can help you save your oral and overall health.
Often, a deep professional cleaning called scaling and root planing is all it takes to rid your teeth of the harmful plaque and tartar that’s eroding your teeth and seeping into the soft tissues.
If your periodontitis has advanced past the point where cleaning will help, we may need to extract some of your teeth and replace them with dental implants to restore your smile and your oral health.
If you suspect periodontitis, don’t wait to seek treatment. Schedule an appointment at either of our two locations in Covington or Slidell, Louisiana, by calling today.