In the past, many people did not take dental care and oral hygiene seriously. Cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth were quite common. In modern times, we have come to appreciate the beauty of a great smile and understand the importance of oral health.

Risks of gum disease

We have known for a long time that gum disease, also called periodontal disease, leads to poor oral health, diminished jawbone mass, and tooth loss. However, in recent years, a wealth of scientific research has established a link between oral health, and the health of your entire body. Untreated gum disease has been linked to heart failure, stroke, pre-term birth, arthritis, diabetes, and many more serious health conditions.

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The exact nature of this link is still not fully understood, but we know that gum disease affects your whole health in two ways:

  • Oral bacteria are not confined to the mouth, as it was once believed. They mix with your saliva, and even your breath, entering your lungs and digestive system, then spreading throughout your body.
  • Your immune system naturally tries to fight inflammation, by releasing what are known as C-Reactive Proteins. When the infection is chronic, these proteins accumulate in your blood, causing other problems. A high level of C-Reactive Proteins is considered a stronger predictor of heart disease than high cholesterol.

What you can do

The most alarming statistic about gum disease is its prevalence – about half of Americans over the age of 30 are afflicted. However, there is good news about gum disease. It is treatable at any stage. Even better, it is usually preventable with good hygiene, healthy eating, are regular dental care.

The symptoms of gum disease are subtle, especially in the early stages. The warning signs include:

  • Inflamed, tender, or sore gums
  • Bleeding when you brush your teeth
  • Discolored gum tissue
  • Persistent bad breath, unrelated to what you have eaten
  • Loose teeth

If you have any of these symptoms, or if it has been more than six months since you’ve seen a dentist, call Pleasant Dental® at (708) 576-1900 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Dietrich today. Our office is conveniently located in Dolton, IL, just a short drive from Calumet City.

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