Gingivitis, or colloquially known as gum disease, is an inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. It is a very common medical condition, and it is usually a direct result of poor oral and dental hygiene. The condition varies wildly in severity, from mild cases that involve discomfort and slight pain, to severe cases that feature gum bleeding, loss of teeth, and difficulty eating and speaking. It is characterized by a set of easy to spot symptoms, including swelling and redness of the gums, bleeding of the gums, which occurs especially when flossing.
Gum disease is caused almost always by poor dental hygiene. Food and other debris mixed with saliva sticks on the surface of the teeth, close to the gums. In time, these small particles become infested with bacteria-forming plaque, which further enhances the growth of dangerous bacteria. If the patient does not remove this plaque when flossing, the debris become solidified on the teeth, forming calculus or tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional with the help of specialized tools.
Gingivitis is a fairly common medical condition and is easily treated by a dental health professional or dental hygiene expert. Although the disease is preventable and treatable, it is estimated that only 5 percent of people take proper action against it. This is particularly dangerous, as it can easily evolve into more serious medical conditions, especially if the patient does not take any precautions and fails to change his or her dental hygiene habits. One of the primary health concerns caused by untreated gum disease is periodontitis, a very serious condition that affects many people in the United States. Other issues that can be caused by untreated gingivitis are diabetes, chronic heart disease, and some types of cancers.
Here are some of the main consequences of not treating gum disease or gingivitis:
- Tooth abscesses and pus
The overgrowth of bacteria inside your mouth will have a tremendous impact on the health of the surrounding tissues, including the jaw bones. The result will be sore gums, gumboil (otherwise known as gum abscesses) and pus that will ooze around the teeth. If still left untreated, gum disease will continue to affect the teeth and its surroundings, causing periodontitis.
- The onset of periodontitis
If gum disease is left untreated and the patient’s cleaning habits do not become better, periodontitis may occur. Characterized by swollen gums, painful soft tissues, bleeding around the teeth, receding gums and bad breath, this condition can cause irreversible damage to your mouth area. The bacteria slowly moves to the roots of your teeth, exposing the sensible bone tissue and causing infections. If these are left untreated, extreme pain may become common, and loose pockets will appear between the teeth, where the body is fighting off the infection.
- Tooth loss caused by periodontitis
While gum disease is the inflammation of the gums and soft tissues, periodontitis is the inflammation of the bone structure that supports the teeth. It is a direct consequence of gum disease left untreated for an extended period, and it has disastrous outcomes for many patients. Although there are many modern teeth replacement solutions available, losing a perfectly healthy tooth is always a nightmare for many people. In periodontitis patients, the teeth are, in fact, healthy, and only the surrounding bone tissue is damaged.
There are several medical studies that point out a relationship between untreated gum disease and diabetes. Research has shown that periodontal patients have trouble in regulating their blood sugar concentration, which is a prime cause of diabetes. Severe periodontal disease causes high blood sugar, putting diabetes patients at an increased risk for complications.
- Heart disease
Although a valid cause and effect relationship has not yet been confirmed by healthcare specialists, many studies suggest that periodontal disease is closely associated with heart disease. Periodontitis can exacerbate heart disease symptoms and can cause heart attacks in certain patients. Similarly, patients that have infectious endocarditis will require antibiotics before any dental procedure.
The writer, Flaviu Mircea, is a health blogger who focues on dental and oral health concerns. He reminds his audience of the importance of good oral hygiene and regular doctor’s appointments. If you happen to be needing a dentist, he highly recommends visiting the Premier Smile Center. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit on Google+.