Surprising Facts About Gum Disease

It’s often thought that the teeth are the most important component of oral health. But actually, the gums play a critical role too. The health of your gums reflects the overall state of your oral health and systemic well-being. That’s why it’s so important to get to a dentist for gum disease treatments as soon as you notice any symptoms. By becoming better informed about gum disease, you can become a proactive advocate for your own wellness. 

Gingivitis and gum disease are nearly the same thing. 

Dentists often hear patients wonder about the difference between gingivitis and gum disease since the terms are often used interchangeably. Gingivitis is actually a form of gum disease. Gum disease occurs in stages, becoming progressively worse. Gingivitis is the first stage. At this point, the gums are inflamed, puffy, and tender, and they may bleed when brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is easily reversed with scaling and root planning, as long as the patient follows good at-home oral care. 

The body’s natural response causes inflammation. 

Now that you know inflammation is part of gum disease, you might be surprised to learn that gum disease doesn’t directly cause inflammation. In a patient with gum disease, bacteria build up in the mouth, infecting the gum tissue. The body’s natural response to bacteria is to trigger the inflammatory process. As the gum tissue is harmed, it releases chemicals that cause fluid leakage into the tissues. This results in swelling. It also helps wall off the bacteria from surrounding tissues. 

Gum disease can affect a developing fetus. 

It’s recommended that women who are trying to conceive and those who become pregnant see a dentist early on in the pregnancy. This is because expecting mothers are at an increased risk of developing gum disease. Additionally, it’s possible for untreated gum disease to affect the health of the unborn baby, such as by increasing the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. 

Here at Park 56 Dental, our friendly dentists firmly believe that every patient should be able to enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile. We strongly encourage you to schedule a dentist appointment in NYC every six months for preventive care. If you notice potential signs of gum disease and need an appointment sooner than this, give us a call at (646) 783-3529 and we’ll fit you in as soon as possible!