Over 47% of American adults suffer from gum disease in some form, but not everyone grasps just how serious the condition is. You may mistakenly assume that the damage will be limited to the gum tissue itself, but it can also have a negative impact on other areas, such as the teeth, the jawline, and – surprisingly enough – the shape of your face. Realizing just how severe the consequences of periodontal disease can be is important for maintaining oral health. As such, you should be fully aware of the link between gum disease and facial shape.
What Happens When You Have Gum Disease?
To understand the consequences of gum disease, it’s necessary to learn about what the condition actually entails. It begins when harmful bacteria start to accumulate in the mouth and begin to attack the gums. It starts off as gingivitis, which makes the gums red and tender. The irritation may even cause the gums to pull away from the teeth slightly, causing pockets between the teeth and gums to form. Untreated gingivitis eventually becomes periodontitis. The gum tissue will continue to recede, and the ligaments holding the teeth in place will start to break down. At its most advanced stages, periodontitis can cause you to lose teeth altogether.
So How Does Gum Disease Change Your Facial Shape?
If gum disease leads to tooth loss, it can eventually cause profound changes in the jawbone. The teeth normally stimulate the jawbone tissues to keep them healthy, so if they’re lost, the jawbone will start to resorb and shrink. As the jawbone loses height, so does the rest of the face, which can alter your appearance in numerous ways. For example, the angles under the nose might shift, making the nose look larger. Furthermore, the corners of your lips might turn downwards to make it look like you’re constantly frowning. In the most advanced cases of gum disease, the muscles around the lower jaw might become unattached, causing jowls to form. Also, without the support of your teeth, the muscles around your mouth may start to lose their tone and become more wrinkled.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Facial Shape?
The best way to make sure your facial shape is unaffected by gum disease is to have the condition treated early on. A periodontist can identify the warning signs of gum disease and treat the infection before it becomes too serious.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to gum health, especially if you’re looking to avoid the long-term consequences of gum disease. Call your periodontist today for a consultation if you notice possible warning signs of gingivitis or periodontitis.
About the Author
Dr. Alexander Schrott received his training in periodontics in the United States, Germany, and Switzerland. He has been board-certified by the American and German Boards of Periodontology. Among his numerous periodontal services, he naturally offers a variety of ways to treat gum disease as well as reverse the damage it can cause. To schedule a consultation at his practice, Schrott Perio Implants, visit his website or call (617) 484-9240.