KEEPING YOUR WHOLE BODY HEALTHY, STARTING WITH YOUR ORAL HEALTH
You use your mouth for eating and breathing, which makes it a gateway to the rest of your body, so it is reasonable that your oral health affects your total health. Everyone in Monaca, PA should be taking very good care of their teeth and gums to help lower their risk of developing medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. In particular, you will need to focus on avoiding gum (periodontal) disease. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is following modern research studies regarding the link between gum disease and heart disease. While gum disease does not directly cause heart disease, there is loads of evidence to suggest that they are linked. Besides heart disease, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, certain cancers, and strokes. Our experienced team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley can diagnose and treat gum disease in the event you already have it or we can help you avoid gum problems along with other dental problems for a healthy mouth and body. Read on to learn more about gum disease, including causes, signs to look for, treatment options, plus strategies to keep yourself healthy through optimal dental care.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 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 develop along the gumline. Plaque develops when starches and sugars combine with saliva. The formation of plaque is a natural process that happens to everyone. However, the plaque is usually removed from daily brushing and flossing or during bi-annual professional cleanings at your dentist's office in Monaca, PA. When plaque is not removed, it will turn into hardened tartar. Together (tartar and plaque) can produce the start of problems including the first stage of gum disease, which is known as gingivitis. If it is not identified and addressed, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. The second stage of gum disease, periodontitis will cause a receding gumline, which makes your teeth feel loose. Without treatment, the inflammation can spread to the rest of your mouth (the jaw and teeth) and your body if it reaches your bloodstream.
SIGNS OF GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is more common than you realize. Almost half of men and women in America have some type of periodontal problems. Because the earliest signs of gum disease are mild and not painful, it may at first be hard for you to notice on your own. The best way to check and make sure you do not have gum problems is to diligently schedule and attend cleanings and oral health exams at a dentist’s office in Monaca, PA. It's also important to know what signs to look for, which means it is possible to get in to schedule an appointment with your dentist earlier if you see 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 will need an examination by your dentist in Monaca, PA. A more severe symptom is pus or a sore between your gums and teeth. You may also find a brownish buildup of hard deposits on your gumline. If you see your gumline is receding or your teeth seem loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately for an examination.
HOW TO TREAT GUM DISEASE
Gingivitis is often treated with scaling and root planing (SRP). During an SRP treatment, a tool known as a scaler will be used to remove plaque and tartar buildup from under your gumline. After the scaling is done, your dentist will smooth (plane) the enamel to reduce the crevices where plaque and tartar typically develop. For most patients, it may take two or more SRP deep cleanings to renew the health of your gums. For patients who have 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 gum surgery or scaling and root planing to eliminate any lingering bacteria and help restore your gums.
WAYS TO BOOST YOUR ORAL HEALTH
Healthy gums and teeth are critical for a stunning smile. If you'd like to make sure you are doing as much as you can to keep your mouth healthy, there are lots of things you can do:
- IMPROVE YOUR HABITS
When you eat a balanced diet with minimal consumption of processed and sugary foods, you can cut the development of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which decreases your chance of developing an oral health condition. 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 suggest that you schedule a wellness assessment at least once each year with your physician to evaluate your wellbeing. Your physician will run diagnostic tests to check if you have or are close to having health problems. Using your test results as a guide, your physician can recommend strategies to boost your wellbeing, which may reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Typical recommendations are improving your diet, more exercise, decreasing your weight, and managing any health conditions (as an example, controlling diabetes or taking blood pressure medication).
- DENTAL EXAMS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
Schedule appointments at your dentist twice a year for an oral health exam and professional cleanings. Dental exams give your dentist the opportunity to look for problems like gingivitis when it first presents so it can be treated quickly with a simpler 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 challenging to go to regular appointments, our team in Monaca, PA offers different sedation dentistry techniques to keep you calm so you can get these important exams and cleanings.
- QUIT USING TOBACCO
Men and women who use tobacco products (chewing, smoking, or vaping) are far more likely to suffer from oral conditions, so quitting will help reduce your chance of developing periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you need help, talk to your primary care physician in Monaca, PA about aids for tobacco cessation, such as special gum, patches, and prescription medication.
REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HEART PROBLEMS WITH GOOD ORAL HEALTH
If you want to protect your heart, start by improving your mouth. Find a dentist you trust and see them at least twice a year to treat or prevent gum disease. Our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley is skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease as well as other dental health conditions. Schedule an oral health examination at our practice in Monaca, PA so we can get started with helping you improve your mouth to boost your overall wellness.