It is difficult to overstate the threat that periodontal disease poses to your oral health, general health, and well-being. Also referred to as gum disease or gingivitis, this bacterial infection can be highly destructive and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
As a periodontist in Washington, Dr. Rustin Levy sees the effects that gum disease has on his patients’ oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all US adults over age 30 have some form of periodontal disease; over age 65, the rate increases to about 70 percent.
Dr. Levy recognizes that taking the first step to restore your gum health may be a challenge that prevents you from seeking treatment. Rest assured that we are caring professionals who are sensitive to your feelings. Our only goal is to provide the supportive care and treatment you need to get your smile healthy again. We congratulate you on being proactive by visiting our website, and we look forward to helping you.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that affects your gums and, eventually, the bone and structures that support your teeth. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is often reversible with prompt treatment and improved oral hygiene.
Without treatment, gingivitis advances to periodontitis and starts to break down the bone and structures that support your teeth. Your teeth become mobile, and you may eventually experience tooth loss. While it is possible to treat periodontitis, any bone loss that occurs is irreversible.
There are numerous risk factors for gum disease, including age, smoking, medications, teeth grinding, and systemic conditions like diabetes.
Why Is Periodontal Disease So Widespread?
Gum disease is highly preventable with proper dental care and easy to treat in its earliest stages. So why does it affect so many people?
Part of the answer is that gum disease may produce no symptoms, or they may be so mild that they go unnoticed. To help prevent it from damaging your oral health, look for the following signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums when you brush and floss
- Swollen, inflamed, or puffy gum tissue
- Receding gums
- Teeth that feel loose to touch
- A change in the way your teeth feel when you bite down
- Chronic bad breath that won’t go away with oral hygiene
Missed dental hygiene appointments and poor oral hygiene are other problems that allow gum disease to take hold. You may not notice mild symptoms, but your hygienist will spot it during a routine teeth cleaning.
Gum Disease & The Mouth-Body Connection
It is crucial to take periodontal disease seriously because your oral health is a window to your general health. What happens in your mouth affects your body, and vice versa.
One example is diabetes, which increases your risk of developing gum disease. But it’s also been shown that those with chronic gum disease are at increased risk of developing diabetes.
Gum disease and inflammation have been scientifically linked with numerous conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Low birthweight babies
This is only a partial listing, and researchers continue to find new body-mouth connections.
You Don’t Need a Referral!
You don’t need a referral to schedule an appointment with a periodontist in Washington. If you have concerns about your gum health, Dr. Levy will be happy to evaluate your needs and report them back to your general dentist.
Please call Advanced Periodontics of Washington at (202) 524-4863, and a member of our dental team will be happy to help you schedule an appointment.