October is National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month, which provides a perfect opportunity to learn about the importance of maintaining optimal oral health. Brushing and flossing regularly can stave off a number of dental concerns, but some conditions may require professional treatment. Periodontal disease (commonly referred to as gum disease) can diminish the composition of the teeth and gums, inducing pain and increasing the risk of your health.  

Symptoms of Gum Disease  

While it may be normal for Dracula to experience bleeding gums, in humans it is indicative of gum disease. Other symptoms may include loose or shifting teeth, painful or puffy gums, persistent bad breath, and receding gums. Gum disease may also progress without any symptoms, so routine checkups are vital for preventive measures.  

Dangers of Gum Disease

Untreated periodontal disease can present a numerous range of related health risks. Harmful bacteria can enter the bloodstream through infected gums, spreading the risk of infection throughout the body. Gum disease may lead to these effects:  

 1.       Tooth Loss – In fact, it is the most prevalent cause of tooth loss in America. Periodontitis deteriorates the structure of the bone and connective tissue within the jaw, allowing teeth to loosen, shift, and eventually fall out.
2.       Malnutrition – Missing teeth and painful gums may cause a person to avoid consuming certain foods, which can contribute to malnutrition.
3.       Heart Disease – Although the reasons have still yet to be determined, people with gum disease increase their chances, by almost double, of also being affected by heart disease.
4.       Low Birth Weight Babies – Gum disease may cause premature delivery and low birth weight babies, increasing the risk for both the mother and child.
5.       Diabetes – Diabetes may increase the development of gum disease, but gum disease may also increase insulin resistance.  

Treating Gum Disease

While dentists may be proficient to treat gum disease in its premature stages, many patients find more effective methods of treatment with a periodontist. This type of specialist has undergone years of advanced training, in addition to primary dental accreditations and educational studies. They are incredibly proficient in treatment methods correlated with both early and advanced periodontal disease.  
Dr. Gregg R. Codelli is an experienced periodontist in Atlanta, GA. If you are concerned about your oral health, contact his office at (678) 389-7604 to arrange an appointment.