Annual Bone & Joint Section
Bones and joints are easily taken for granted, but they’re absolutely vital to our health and day-to-day activities. In the following section, learn how to keep your bones and joints healthy so that you can keep an active lifestyle for many more years to come.
By Anna Hill
If not caught in time, poor oral health can lead to a variety of unpleasant side effects, such as decreasing bone density and tooth loss.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – is an infection of the areas that surround your teeth. There are stages associated with gum disease that range in severity, and symptoms can include swollen, inflamed, or bleeding gums, bad breath, receding gums, and more. The most common and least severe stage is gingivitis, followed by periodontitis. By the time you reach periodontitis, you might begin to experience loose teeth or bone loss in the jaw.
Gum Disease and Bone Loss
Gums play an important role in keeping your teeth healthy and in place. If you aren’t taking proper care of your oral hygiene, there’s a high likelihood you’ll develop advanced gum disease over time. This can lead to the growth and spread of bacteria in your mouth, which can eventually lead to receding gums. The space left behind serves as a breeding ground for infections, which can attack connective tissue and bone that stand in their way. If left unchecked, this deterioration can reach your jawbone and the tissues that hold your teeth in place, which often leads to tooth loss.
Unfortunately, tooth loss isn’t the only issue associated with gum disease you need to be concerned with. When an infection reduces bone density in the jaw, it can alter your facial structure and may even make it challenging for you to bite, chew, or speak. It can also cause difficulty when it comes to fitting dentures or increase the risk of complications with oral surgeries.
There are several treatment options, depending on the severity your gum disease has reached. One nonsurgical option, called scaling and root planing, is a method that involves your dentist using a tool to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and root surfaces and smoothing away roughness so the gums can reattach themselves to the teeth. If your case is more severe, you might need a surgical option such as pocket reduction or gum grafting.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to rigorously follow a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing is the first line of defense against dental plaque and gum infections. Additionally, regular routine dentist visits will cut down your risk of disease, as dental cleanings can eliminate plaque in areas your toothbrush alone cannot reach. HS