Healthy gums, healthy body
If your gums aren’t healthy, your teeth won’t be either. Same goes for the rest of your body. So as part of your regular checkups, we always take a look at your gums. If we find evidence of periodontal disease, we will sit down with you to come up with a plan to get them back on the road to health. Options run from scaling and root planing to antibiotics to surgical options such as bone and gum grafts. All gum surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, unless you request another type of sedation.
How to know if you may need gum surgery
Take a look in the mirror. If your gums are firm and pink, that’s a great sign. It means the bone is healthy and is supporting your teeth properly. However, if they bleed when you brush or floss, are red and inflamed, are pulling away from the teeth, or your teeth are becoming loose, you may need gum surgery. If you want to maintain your teeth for life, you need to address the problem right away. Here’s why:
Gingivitis occurs when bacterial plaque builds up on your teeth, right at the gum line. The gums get red and inflamed and tend to bleed easily when you brush and floss. If you have bad breath (halitosis), it may be caused by the bacteria that causes gum disease.
If gingivitis goes untreated for a long time, it can turn in to periodontitis, or infected gums. Long-term inflammation causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming deep pockets that get filled with bacterial plaque, which eats away at the bone and causes infection. Peridontitis can lead to severe bone loss, painful gum abscesses and loosened and lost teeth. At this point, gum surgery is the only option.
Ever heard the expression “long in the tooth” to describe someone who’s old? It comes from the fact that as gum disease progresses, more of the tooth is exposed, making the teeth appear longer. In actual fact, it has nothing to do with age – “long” teeth come from poor oral health.
Gum disease and your overall health
Unhealthy gums don’t just affect your teeth, however. When you have an infection in your mouth, it impacts your entire body. There’s a strong link between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even Alzheimer’s, plus a variety of other health issues:
- Heart disease: When mouth bacteria enter the blood stream, they attach to the fatty plaques in blood vessels, thickening the vessel walls, restricting flow – and reducing oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
- Stroke: If blood pressure increases due to build-up, and fatty particles get dislodged and block a blood vessel, a stroke can occur.
- Diabetes: Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar and make diabetes more difficult to manage.
- Respiratory disease: Bacterial respiratory infections can occur when you inhale bacteria from the mouth into the lungs. The bacteria can also worsen existing lung conditions like asthma, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Pregnancy problems: Periodontal disease puts pregnant woman at risk of premature or low-weight babies. Researchers believe that it triggers increase levels of biological fluids than induce labour.
By keeping your gums healthy, you’re doing your whole body a favour. If you think you may need gum surgery, talk to us. We will sit down and work out a plan to get your mouth healthy again.