March 20, 2015
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, approximately half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease, a chronic infection of the gums that has been linked to problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, diabetes, and more. Knowing your risks and understanding methods of prevention are your greatest resources in protecting your smile and your body from the hazards of periodontal disease. At the Clinton Township, MI dental office of Dr. Mindy Salzberg-Siegel, you’ll find everything that you and your family need to achieve and maintain optimal oral health, including screenings and treatment for gum disease.
Symptoms & Complications of Gum Disease
The most common symptom associated with periodontal disease is tenderness and swelling of the gingival tissues. You may notice that your gums bleed during or after brushing and/or flossing. Other symptoms include:
- Recession of the gums (exposed roots at the gum line)
- Increased sensitivity to cold foods and beverages
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Chronic halitosis (bad breath)
- Pain while chewing
- Reddening of the gums, particularly near the roots of teeth
- Widening gaps between teeth close to the gum line
In many patients, mild to moderate gum disease may develop without any noticeable symptoms. This is the primary reason that routine periodontal hygiene visits with your dentist are so important. Only a comprehensive exam and cleaning will definitively determine the presence of infection within the gums.
Assessing Your Gum Disease Risk
There are a variety of risk factors for the development of periodontal disease. Understanding how your lifestyle choices and systemic health affect your gums is critical to prevention and effective treatment. The most commonly gum disease risk factors include the following:
- Poor oral hygiene. The accumulation of plaque at and beneath the gum line is the primary cause of gum disease.
- Tobacco use. Using tobacco in any form – including smoking and chewing tobacco – greatly increases your risk of developing irritation of the gingival tissues.
- Many over-the-counter and prescription medications cause a reduction in saliva production. Saliva helps to protect your teeth and gums from the bacteria that cause decay and disease.
- Individuals with a family history of gum disease are more susceptible to the condition.
- Studies indicate that stress makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infection, including gum disease.
- Teeth grinding or clenching. Patients who suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) or jaw clenching – both of which accelerate the rate at which connective tissues deteriorate – are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease.
Schedule Your Gum Disease Assessment Today
If you suspect that you may be suffering from gum disease or if it has been more than one year since your last professional dental cleaning, contact us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Salzberg-Siegel and her experienced, caring team. You can also complete your own gum disease risk assessment at SelfScreen.net and present your findings at your next appointment. Working together, you and Dr. Salzberg-Siegel can effectively reduce your risk of complications associated with this condition. Our Clinton Township, MI dental practice warmly welcomes patients from throughout the nearby areas of Shelby, Fraser, Sterling Heights, Mount Clemens, Saint Clair Shores, and beyond.
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