I have WHAT?

"You have gum disease." Your dentist's voice echoes in your mind as you wait for the dental hygienist.

I have a disease?  

Unfortounately, your dentist is not wrong. Gum disease, medically known as periodontitis, is a real disease, and it can lead to real problems.

It starts out as gingivitis. Bleeding after brushing. Red gums. Bad breath. Recession. Maybe even loose teeth.

These are all indicators that things aren't quite right. Gingivitis is reversible. Usually with a few changes to your brushing and a trip to the dentist, your mouth can return to health in no time at all. If you ignore it, you can permanently damage your teeth, gums, jaw, or even start to lose your teeth. Periodontitis is not reversible.

Plaque (food debris and bacteria) is constantly building on teeth and under the gum line. Toxins are produced from the plaque when it is not removed. These toxins damage teeth, gums, and all of the supporting structures and tissues in and around the oral cavity.

graphic showing bacteria entering blood stream

Your teeth are important. They help you speak, chew, and swallow. We really want them to last as long as you do. The thing that most people don't realize is how much your oral health affects the rest of your body. Bacteria and toxins can travel anywhere in your body once they are in your blood.

Endless studies have shown a direct link between gum disease and multiple systemic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and dementia. Your mouth is the gateway to the health of your entire body. You probably didn't learn that in elementary school!

Next time you get a phone call reminding you that you are due to have your check up and cleaning, remember that it isn't just about getting a free tooth brush and having your teeth polished. Sure, those things are great, but the most important thing is taking care of your overall health. It all starts in your mouth. If you have any questions or are concerned that you might have gum disease, contact us to book an appointment.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels