KEEPING YOUR WHOLE BODY HEALTHY, STARTING WITH YOUR ORAL HEALTH
Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body, so it makes sense that your oral health affects your overall health. All residents in Forest Park, IL need be taking excellent care of their teeth and gums to help lower their risk of developing several medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. In particular, you need to focus on avoiding gum (periodontal) disease. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is following current research studies on the correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Even though gum disease does not directly cause heart disease, there is a lot of evidence to indicate that they are linked. In addition to heart disease, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, certain cancers, and strokes. Our experienced team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Forest Park can diagnose and treat gum disease if you already have it or we can help you avoid getting it along with other dental problems for a healthy mouth and body. Read on to learn more about gum disease, including what causes it, signs to look for, treatment options, plus ways to keep yourself healthy through good dental care.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection in the soft tissue of your mouth. Gum disease can develop when the sticky bacteria known as plaque begins to build up around the teeth. Plaque is formed when starches and sugars mix with saliva. The formation of plaque is a natural process that happens to everyone. However, the plaque is usually removed during daily brushing and flossing or during bi-annual professional cleanings at your dentist's office in Forest Park, IL. If plaque is not removed, it can turn into hardened tartar on your enamel. The two together (tartar and plaque) can create the start of problems including the first stage of gum disease, which is known as gingivitis. If it isn't identified and addressed, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. The next stage of gum disease, periodontitis will cause the gums to pull away from the root of the tooth, which makes your teeth feel loose. Without proper treatment, the infection can spread to the rest of your mouth (teeth and jawbone) and your body if it reaches your bloodstream.
SIGNS OF GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is more common than you think. Close to half of adults in the United States have some degree of periodontal problems. Because the earliest signs of gum disease are mild and not painful, it may at first be hard for you to recognize on your own. The best way to check and make sure you do not have gum problems is to diligently schedule and attend dental cleanings and oral health examinations at a dentist’s office in Forest Park, IL. It's also important to know what signs to watch for, so it's possible to get in to see your dentist earlier if you notice symptoms. The earliest symptoms of gingivitis are red, tender, and swollen gums that bleed easily when you floss or brush. Chronic bad breath (halitosis) is also a hint that you need an examination by your dentist in Forest Park, IL. A more serious symptom is pus or a sore between your gums and teeth. You may also see a brownish buildup of hard deposits just above your gumline. If you notice your gumline is changing or your teeth feel loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately for an examination.
YOUR TREATMENT OPTIONS
Gingivitis is often treated with scaling and root planing (SRP). During an SRP treatment, a tool called a scaler is used to remove plaque and tartar buildup out of your gum pockets. After the scaling is complete, your dentist will smooth (plane) the enamel to reduce the crevices and rough surfaces where plaque and tartar typically get trapped. For most patients, it may take two or more SRP deep cleanings to restore the health of your gums. For patients with advanced gum disease (periodontitis), laser gum surgery will likely be performed to open the gums and address deeper areas of the gums. Your dentist may prescribe a round of antibiotics after a periodontal treatment to eliminate any lingering bacteria and help your gums heal.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY ORAL HEALTH
Healthy gums and teeth are necessary for a beautiful smile. If you'd like to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your mouth healthy, there are many things you can do:
- IMPROVE YOUR DAILY HABITS AND LIFESTYLE
When you eat a balanced diet with minimal consumption of processed and sugary foods, you can reduce the development of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which decreases your chance of developing an oral health disease. Lowering your level of stress and getting regular exercise can also help to reduce your risk of getting periodontal disease.
- GET AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL
We recommend you schedule a wellness exam at least once a year with your primary care physician to evaluate your health. Your doctor will run diagnostic tests to check if you have or are at risk for health problems. Using your test results as a guide, your doctor can recommend ways to enhance your health, which may reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Common recommendations are adjusting your diet, getting more exercise, getting to a healthy weight, and treating any health conditions (for example, controlling diabetes or taking blood pressure medication).
- AVOID TOBACCO
Adults who use tobacco products (smoking, chewing, or vaping) are much more likely to suffer from oral conditions, so quitting can help lower your chance of developing periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you need help, talk to your primary care physician in Forest Park, IL about tobacco cessation treatments, such as special gum, patches, and prescription medication.
- REGULAR EXAMS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
Schedule appointments at your dentist twice a year for an oral health examination and professional cleanings. Dental exams give your dentist the opportunity to catch problems like gingivitis when it first appears so it can be treated quickly with a less invasive procedure. Bi-annual professional cleanings at the dentist remove built-up plaque and tartar that you can have trouble reaching at home. If you have dental fears that make it hard to go to regular appointments, our office in Forest Park, IL offers different sedation dentistry techniques to keep you calm so you can get these crucial exams and cleanings.
A HEALTHY BODY STARTS WITH A HEALTHY MOUTH
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your gums. Find a dentist you trust and visit them at least twice a year to treat or prevent gum disease. Our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Forest Park is skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease as well as other dental health issues. Schedule an oral health examination at our practice in Forest Park, IL so we can get started with helping you improve your mouth and by extension, your overall health.