From Gingivitis to Periodontitis: The Long-Term Impact of Gum Disease

Dentist using mirror to examine patient with gum disease

Most people seem to be more concerned with their teeth than their gums. Perhaps that is why more than half of all Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, with many of them not even realizing it. When you first notice early warning signs of gum disease – such as bleeding – you might think that the issue is minor enough that you can deal with it. However, the longer you ignore the problem, the more severe the consequences will be. Discover the full impact that gum disease in Belmont can have on your oral health – as well as what you can do to protect yourself.

The Stages and Effects of Gum Disease

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. At this point, plaque on the teeth causes gum inflammation. You may notice that your gum tissue has become red, inflamed, or swollen. It’s is common to experience bleeding when you brush or floss. At this point no irreversible damage has been done.

Untreated gingivitis eventually turns into periodontitis. You will start losing jaw bone around your teeth, creating pockets where bacteria multiply and infections can easily develop. Your body will try to fight the bacteria, but as it does the antibodies it creates will also attack healthy bone and gum cells. Eventually, the tissues holding your teeth in place will deteriorate and you may loose teeth leaving you with an incomplete smile.

In addition to tooth loss, advanced gum disease has also been shown to have a link with heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other health problems. In other words, when your oral health is compromised, the rest of your body could also be at risk.

How to Avoid the Long-Term Consequences of Gum Disease

The best way to protect your mouth from gum disease is to either never let it develop in the first place or have it treated while it’s still in the gingivitis stage. To keep your smile safe, follow these tips:

  • Keep an eye out for chronic inflammation and other possible warning signs of gum disease. Make an appointment with your periodontist in Belmont right away if you have reason to think there is gum inflammation.
  • Thoroughly clean your teeth every day. Use an electric toothbrush and dental floss to clean the spaces that a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Visit your dentist for a checkup every six months. Sometimes it takes a professional eye to catch gum disease as early as possible.

If gum disease does develop, it’s important to act as soon as possible, whether that means getting a deep cleaning for gingivitis or undergoing more advanced procedures to combat the effects of periodontitis. Don’t let gum disease decide the course of your life.

About the Author

Dr. Alexander Schrott has received periodontal training in the United States, Germany, and Switzerland, and he is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. He has been recognized as a top periodontist by Boston Magazine for four years in a row thanks to the expertise and care he demonstrates in helping his patients overcome their gum disease. If you’re concerned about your periodontal health, schedule an appointment at his practice, Schrott Perio Implants, by visiting his website or calling (617) 484-9240.