Gum Health

The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth

Are you one of the many people who believe that tooth loss is due to decay? You’ll probably be surprised to hear that gum disease, rather than decay, is the main culprit. It can be completely unnoticeable right up until you lose your teeth. There are a few subtle symptoms, such as bleeding gums when you brush or floss, or teeth that feel loose or start to shift. If you’ve been told you need gum surgery, you’ll be glad to know it’s possible to control gum disease with a variety of non-surgical methods.

The Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Recent medical research has caused many doctors to reach a surprising conclusion: gum disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health conditions. Since heart disease is usually fatal, gum disease is clearly a serious matter. The American Dental Association has estimated that 8 out of 10 Americans have periodontal (gum) disease. Any other affliction at this level, such as AIDS or tuberculosis, would be considered an epidemic! Dentists knew that gum disease would never be labeled epidemic because “no one ever dies from it.” The worst result is loss of teeth. Problematic – but certainly not life threatening. But that’s all changed.

The American Academy of Periodontology reports that “Studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.” Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial infection of the gums. These bacteria can travel into the bloodstream – straight to the heart.

There Is Good News

Surgical treatment is necessary for advanced periodontal disease. Gum surgery is never fun but is nearly always successful in controlling the condition, and common insurance plans usually cover the treatment. Mild periodontal disease can be treated with very effective NON-surgical procedures that, along with improved dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental insurance plans.

Is Losing a Tooth All That Bad?

Whether lost due to an accident or other trauma or, more commonly, due to gum disease or decay, it’s a big deal. Even a single lost tooth can cause other teeth to shift and move around, which can affect chewing and your ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Other results are unpleasant, too. The slow change in face shape due to bone loss and moving teeth can be described as looking “sunken.” Most people look far older than they really are when this happens. Your speech can be affected. Because it’s harder to chew with missing teeth, you may find yourself favoring softer foods and more carbohydrates, which can cause you to gain weight. That’s why it’s essential to address the problem before it reaches these stages! If you do end up with missing teeth, dental implants are the best restoration.

We can help arrest your gum disease and bring your smile back to health. Give us a call today at (210) 590-4100.