February is known for a few things: Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl, the Oscars. It’s also Gum Disease Awareness Month, although you probably haven’t heard news headlines about that. The team at Houston Uptown Dentists believes it’s important to share some facts about this deadly disease with you. That includes why it’s known as a deadly disease! But with our gentle gum disease therapy in Houston, you have nothing to fear.
The Silent Killer Slowly Attacks Your Gums
Gum disease affects up to half of all US adults at some point, a statistic you might find surprising. How could so many people have a disease, but we never hear much about it? Part of the problem is that gum disease is sneaky. Here’s what we mean by that.
Gum disease usually starts off as gingivitis. This is inflammation of your gums. Here’s what that might look like:
- Red gums (not the normal pink)
- Tender gums
- Swollen gums/inflamed gums
- Tenderness or discomfort with certain foods and drinks
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth
To the layperson, those aren’t really red flags that you’re suffering from a disease. So it’s easy to dismiss a bit of blood on your toothbrush as normal, or to not even notice that your gums have gotten a little darker.
Thankfully, most cases of gingivitis are completely reversible. We may need to just give you a thorough dental cleaning and some tips about home care. That includes brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, flossing daily, and perhaps using a mouthwash, if we recommend one. Essentially, doing all the basics to eliminate bacteria buildup – the culprit of gum disease.
The Silent Killer Slowly Attacks Your Bone
If gingivitis goes untreated, though, your gums could become infected. Bacteria works its way under your gums. You may still experience the same symptoms listed above, though, so you may not know anything is really wrong. But eventually, leaving this infection untreated can cause permanent jawbone damage. That’s because the body is just trying to fight off your infection, and your bone becomes collateral damage in that process. Since your bone and gums support your teeth, you can see how deterioration of these can start affecting your teeth too. That’s why gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults.
Here are some symptoms of periodontitis, the later stage of gum disease:
- Pain or discomfort when eating at times
- Chronic bad breath
- Pockets developing in your gums
- “Notches” on your teeth
- Teeth pulling away from gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Changes in the way you bite
- Changes in the way your dentures fit
- Tooth loss
To be clear, not everyone who gets gingivitis will develop periodontitis. But how will you know? It’s best to visit a skilled dentist like Dr. Juarez who knows exactly how to diagnose periodontal disease and provide the best gum disease therapy for whatever stage it’s in.
The Silent Killer Affects More Than Teeth & Gums
There’s another reason gum disease is called the silent killer. Research has pointed to connections between advanced gum disease and systemic health conditions. Some of those conditions include:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Heart infections
- Respiratory problems
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Low-birth-weight babies
It’s not clear how closely connected every one of these conditions is to gum disease. Many health professionals and researchers think inflammation is the common factor. Regardless, we’d rather not take chances with your oral health or your overall health. That’s why we’ve sought some of the most reliable and most comfortable gum disease therapies out there.
Beat the Silent Killer With Proper Gum Disease Treatment
No matter what stage your gum disease is in, we offer proven treatments to either eliminate it completely or manage it. We’ll keep your gums healthy and looking healthy with:
- Dental cleaning (prophylaxis) for mild gingivitis
- Scaling and root planing, a deep clean that’s been used successfully for decades
- Laser gum disease therapy for faster, more comfortable treatment and recovery than traditional gum surgery
- Perio Protect® antibiotics that we place inside your gums
- Tips for home care
Even if your gums have receded, Dr. Juarez has trained in gum recession treatment to help them look normal again. She is also highly skilled in tooth extractions, gum grafts, bone grafts, and tooth replacement if your disease has progressed to the point that you need to remove teeth and restore your gums, bone, and teeth. Few general dentists can provide you that many options. But she wants to take care of every aspect that’s been affected by gum disease to give you peace of mind – and improved health.
If you need any gum care here, don’t worry about being lectured or being uncomfortable. Our team simply wants to move forward, not make you feel guilty about your mouth. And we offer several levels of sedation to ensure you’ll be comfortable while we improve your smile.
The Silent Killer Doesn’t Have to Kill Your Smile
Do you have any gum disease symptoms that might require gum disease therapy in Houston? What about your loved ones? Even if they seem minor, don’t hesitate to call Houston Uptown Dentists at 832-463-1021 or fill out our online form. If it’s been a while since your last checkup, make an appointment today. We check for signs of gum disease during every exam.