Don’t Let Your Teeth “Fall” Into Trouble

by DR. SHIKHA BATRA D.M.D

As the season changes once again this year, don’t let your oral health “fall” off the map.

Studies show that sensitive teeth are likely to act up due to the persistent change in weather. Often times sensitivity is attributed to gum disease. With an average of 75% of adults over the age of 35 suffering from some form of “gum” disease at some point in their lives, people are bound to be asking questions about warning signs and ways to prevent it.

This article will bring some clarity to the term often referred to “gum disease” and the actual and suspected health risks that are associated with the bacteria in periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection caused by specific bacteria. This bacteria is present in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth and gums in the mouth). If this bacteria is not removed on a daily basis – it produces toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums – causing them to become red, tender, and often times bleed. This initial phase of gum disease is referred to as gingivitis and can often be reversible. The condition may be reversed by maintaining a good routine oral hygiene and by having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist.

If gingivitis is allowed to persist, it will almost always progress to periodontitis, a chronic infection in the gums, bones, and around your teeth. This infection, if left untreated, can damage and/or destroy the gums and bone to which the teeth are attached. This later stage of gum disease is non-reversible and may cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removal by a dentist. If gum disease has progressed to the later stage, it may be treated and maintained at that stage to preserve and protect the teeth and gums.

What are some warning signs to look for? If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, or you see symptoms of red, swollen, or tender gums, this may be a sign. Persistent bad breath and pus between your teeth and gums are also warning signs for gum disease. If you notice loose or separating teeth, a change in the way your teeth fit when you bite, or a change in the fit of partial dentures, it is important to consult your dentist as soon as possible.

Additionally, it has been determined that the same bacteria associated with periodontal disease plays a role in a host of systemic conditions such as diabetes, blood cell disorders, and heart disease – to name a few.

So, as you get back into the swing of things this fall, be sure not to let your dental visit “fall” off the map!

Dr. Shikha Batra is a general and cosmetic dentist in Troy, Michigan. For any further comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to contact her office at 248-362-1100.