Serving areas of Okemos, Lansing, and East Lansing, MI
Gum disease is a significant oral health concern that affects one out of every two adults over the age of 30 in the U.S. This is an unsettling statistic because left untreated, it can cause serious health problems. Studies link untreated gum disease to a variety of health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. A dentist that treats gum disease in Okemos, Dr. Christine Tenaglia, is here to explain the three stages of gum disease, how to tell if you have it, and what can be done to help.
Like any health problem, it’s vital to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment right away to prevent gum disease from worsening. If you believe that you may have gum disease, or would like to schedule a consultation, just call Tenaglia Smiles at (517) 347-6733 or contact us.
The beginning stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It’s a mild case of gum disease that presents symptoms of red and inflamed gums that bleed easily. You may also battle constant bad breath, which worsens as gum disease progresses. This stage, however, can be reversed. To do this, adapt an at-home oral hygiene regimen of brushing twice a day and flossing daily. While many people brush their teeth every day, most do not floss. Flossing is a key component to cleaning between your teeth, and skipping this step is sure to cause gum irritation, and increase your risk of gum disease. Another component of the overall picture is to receive regular dental checkups and cleanings from your dentist. These visits typically occur once every six months, although sometimes these visits are more frequent for those dealing with gum disease.
If you have gingivitis, yet continue ignoring your oral health, it quickly can progress into periodontitis or full-blown gum disease. At this point, the disease cannot be reversed, although it can be managed with proper oral care and dental treatments. During this stage, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating what is called periodontal pockets. These pockets allow even more harmful bacteria to hide, and can only be cleaned by professional dental cleanings. As these pockets get bigger, without treatment, gum disease poses even more serious threats to your mouth and overall health.
- Advanced Periodontitis
Advanced periodontitis is when the periodontal pockets become so large that the jawbone begins deteriorating, and teeth become loose. Without treatment during this stage, tooth loss is inevitable. Also, foul-smelling breath is a common problem associated with this late stage. Professional dental treatments can help, but you must follow through with the recommendations by your dentist in order to preserve your oral health. Even if you have experienced tooth loss as a result of gum disease, you still should make every effort to save the teeth that you have left. Allowing periodontitis to go untreated means that even wearing dentures down the road may be nearly impossible due to the significant loss of jawbone.
The good news is that gum disease is preventable in most cases. To learn more about how to protect your oral health, or to receive a consultation, contact Tenaglia Smiles today by calling (517) 347-6733. We welcome patients of Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos.