What Are the Risks of Untreated Gum Disease?

Orthodontic treatment

When it comes to our teeth, it is important to keep them in good health. But not many of us are aware that gums also require equal care and attention. A bad case of gum disease may damage the bone that supports your teeth. Read on to know more about gum disease and tips on how to avoid it.

What is gum disease? 

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that may lead to infection in the gum tissue. If untreated, it could spread below the gums and infect the bone that supports the teeth, thereby increasing the possibility of tooth loss. There are various stages of gum disease, the mildest being gingivitis and the most severe being periodontitis. A person suffering from periodontitis would require comprehensive treatment to address the active disease.   According to a study conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 64.7 million Americans suffer from periodontitis, which means around half the population of the US, age 30 or older, suffers from this condition. 

Symptoms and Causes of gum disease

The symptoms of gum disease include swollen, bright red/purplish gums, gums that are tender when touched, bleeding after brushing, bad breath, painful chewing, teeth loss, gaps between teeth etc. If you have firm and pale pink gums that fit perfectly around your teeth and get regular dental checkups most likely you are in good dental health.  Some of the most common causes of gum disease are plaque buildup, smoking or chewing tobacco, hormonal shifts for females, medications etc. Having good oral hygiene is the key to avoiding gum disease. 

Plaque (a thick deposit on teeth where bacteria proliferate), the most common cause of gum disease, can be avoided with daily brushing, flossing and rinsing – plus regular dental cleanings. In addition,  smoking and chewing tobacco can also contribute to periodontitis. Crooked teeth, family history and nutritional deficiencies are some of the other contributing factors to why you could have periodontitis. 

Why does gum disease need to be treated urgently?

A severe case of periodontitis can have a detrimental effect on not just your gums or teeth but also on other significant parts of your body. The bacteria causing the gum disease can also cause respiratory illnesses, rheumatoid arthritis, heart ailments and can even hinder sugar control if you have diabetes. 

Orthodontic treatment due to a crooked tooth or malocclusion can have a positive impact on reducing the chance of gum disease. While undergoing the treatment we must take care of oral hygiene prudently. Even though braces are never considered the cause of gum disease, they make flossing and brushing difficult, making the plaque gather around more. Hence, orthodontic treatment with braces requires you to provide special attention to keep your oral hygiene intact by putting more effort into the cleaning process. On the other hand, OrthoFX clear aligners provide you with the choice of removing them whenever required, thereby helping you to keep your teeth clean with brushing and flossing easily.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html

https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/fast-facts/index.html

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/gum-disease/more-info