Are your gums red, painful, bleeding, or receding? If that’s the case, then you have gum disease, and it’s serious. It isn’t just the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, it’s a chronic infection that can have dangerous, even deadly health consequences. Fortunately, it is treatable, usually without surgery.

If you want to protect your teeth and your health against the consequences of gum disease in Anchorage, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment with a general dentist at Denali Dental Care.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

One of the problems with gum disease is that in its early stages, there are few visible symptoms. By the time you notice the symptoms, the condition is fairly advanced and may need serious treatment.

But you should keep an eye out for these symptoms so that you can catch it sooner:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Red gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Teeth seem to be getting longer (receding gums)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Loose teeth

In general, these symptoms are listed from early symptoms associated with mild gum disease (gingivitis) to later symptoms associated with advanced gum disease (periodontitis). When you have noticeably loose teeth, you have serious gum disease that needs to be treated to prevent tooth loss.

Health Consequences of Gum Disease

Gum disease obviously threatens your oral health, but that’s not the end of its serious consequences. It can impact your entire body, with serious health consequences that can be deadly. It has been associated with a higher risk of these conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Pneumonia
  • Cancer

How does a mouth condition cause such widespread, serious effect? Through many diverse mechanisms. The most common link is inflammation. Inflammation is more than just swelling, it’s the release of specific hormones in the body. When it forces the immune system to remain in a state of readiness, it fatigues the immune system, stresses the body, and can cause dysfunction in the immune system and other parts of the body.

Gum disease contributes to heart disease and stroke because oral bacteria can be a major contributor to clogged arteries. Some of the clogging is done by oral bacteria. Bacteria can also excrete high levels of fat, which also clogs the arteries.

Oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to reach all parts of the body, causing bacteria to settle there, interfering with the health and function of organs.

Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by harmful oral bacteria that overpopulate in the mouth. Sometimes good bacteria can be “turned” into bad bacteria. And the immune system can even cause some of the damage to your gums, teeth, and bones, either because it’s been subverted or because it’s trying so hard to fight the infection that your bone is just collateral damage. So how do you keep bad bacteria under control?

First, eat a healthy diet low in sugars and refined carbs. These feed dangerous bacteria. Second, make sure to brush and floss as recommended. Third, make your regular appointments for cleaning and routine exams.

However, some evidence suggests that there is a strong genetic component in gum disease risk. You may do everything right, and still end up with it.

Treating Gum Disease

So, how do you deal with gum disease? If it’s detected early enough, you may be able to get away with just changing your oral hygiene habits or making more regular dental visits.

If you require treatment, we utilize a diode laser to perform the procedure. This laser causes much less discomfort and less bleeding than traditional treatments. You’ll heal faster, too.

If laser treatment doesn’t work, though, you may need surgery.

Want to learn what gum disease treatment is right for you in Anchorage? Please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment with a general dentist at Denali Dental Care.