Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is very common. In fact, it is estimated that about half of American have the disease, with that percentage increasing for seniors. This disease does not simply impact your mouth; there are wide ranging effects of periodontal disease. That is why Dr. Withers screens patients for signs of the disease.
Increased Risk of Diabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses
Studies have found associations between periodontal disease and chronic illnesses, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Some studies have also found that pregnant women with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of going into labor early. Some of the connection between these diseases might stem from the inflammation associated with gum disease, although other factors might be involved as well.
Periodontal disease slowly destroys the gums and teeth, which makes you more susceptible to tooth loss. Missing teeth do not just affect your appearance; they also make it harder to eat certain foods. Once you have lost one tooth, you also are more susceptible to losing more teeth. This affects the alignment of your teeth, which could further impact your bite and ability to chew. Studies have found a link between loss of chewing and neurodegeneration, including dementia. Therefore, you want to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible.
One of the best ways to avoid the risks of gum disease is prevention and early intervention. Regular professional teeth cleanings and check ups are an important step. You also want to regularly brush and floss your teeth, as well as follow any additional oral hygiene tips from your periodontist. If you have any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, make sure to make an appointment as soon as possible. This includes:
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Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Withers to treat your gum disease in Fairfax, VA!