When plaque builds up on your teeth, cavities are only a small portion of the threat to your oral health. The bacteria that accumulate in plaque can infect your gum tissue, creating a host of complications. Symptoms of periodontal disease begin mildly with inflamed or bleeding gums but can quickly progress to bone and tooth loss. Worse still, periodontal disease has been associated with other chronic inflammatory conditions.
The Far Reaching Negative Impact of Gum Disease
Periodontal infection damages the supportive tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place. Over time, your periodontal pockets widen and your gums recede, leaving your teeth vulnerable. Periodontal disease is, in fact, the most common cause of tooth loss. Tooth loss can make it difficult to chew and obtain the proper nutrition that your body needs. Gaps left by missing teeth encourage the surrounding teeth to move and shift, and tooth loss also results in further bone loss, which can cause changes to your underlying facial structure.
Beyond the direct affect of tooth loss, how does this oral infection contribute to so many conditions throughout the body? One avenue is the circulatory system. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gum tissue and once inside, it has access to all of your vital organs. Some conditions, like diabetes, share a reciprocal link with gum disease wherein a diabetic will have difficulty controlling blood sugar levels when periodontal infection is present. Another is that your periodontal infection creates chronic inflammation and a persistent infection that taxes your immune system. This seemingly small infection can have a tremendous impact on your overall well-being. If you have noticed gum irritation or bleeding, schedule a visit with our office for early treatment of gum disease.