Your teeth and gums impact your systemic health. The American Academy of Periodontology, a group of gum disease experts, states that people with advanced gum disease are twice as likely to have coronary artery disease as people with good oral health. Your dentist in Colorado Springs, Dr. Kenneth Gasper and Dr. James Orban, carefully examine gums for signs of gum disease and use modern treatments to heal them. Dr. Gasper and Dr. James explain how your gums and your heart health are connected.
What is Gum Disease?
Also called gingivitis, in its mildest form, or periodontitis, in its more serious form, gum disease is an all-too-common oral health problem in American adults and even in children. In varying degrees, it exhibits these symptoms:
- Reddened, swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing
- Persistent bad breath
- Gum and jaw bone deterioration
- A “long in the tooth” appearance
- Pus at the gum line
- Loose teeth
- Changes in denture fit and dental bite
These symptoms result from accumulated plaque and tartar on tooth surfaces, between teeth and at the gumline. The bacteria in this “biofilm” damages tooth enamel and results in cavities. Also, the microbes inflame the gums and cause infection.
Regarding your heart health, the infectious bacteria and inflammation speed up the harmful effects plaque has on the cardiovascular system. In fact, the carotid arteries in the neck, along with the arteries and valves of the heart, seem more prone to disease when people have periodontitis.
Additionally, if you already have a cardiac condition involving the heart valves or the function of the heart muscle or blood-pumping chambers, tell your dentist about it. He may want to check with your primary care physician on how best to clean your teeth and to do other preventive and restorative treatments to protect your heart.
Other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, also are linked to advanced gum disease, as are:
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Low birth weight babies
- Pregnancy complications
- Kidney and liver problems
At Aesthetic Dentistry by Design, your family dentist in Colorado Springs can treat your gum disease. Utilizing simple manual tooth scaling and root planing techniques, his professional team scrapes away plaque and hard tartar and smoothes root surfaces. This simple procedure not only treats the infection, it also helps re-attach gums to roots, reducing the size of gum pockets that hold bacteria and restoring gum health.
Additionally, your dentist may install antibacterial medication with specially-designed Perio Protect trays. These trays deliver antibiotics into periodontal pockets, or spaces, between the gums and teeth. Patients use these customized trays for a prescribed amount of time daily.
Finally, Dr. Gasper and Dr. Orban feature an alternative to traditional gum surgeries. Utilizing the innovative Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique, the dentist covers tooth roots exposed by periodontitis. Instead of cutting, grafting and suturing flaps of gum tissue over uncovered areas, the dentist makes a small pinhole and gently moves gums over recessed areas. This technique features no sutures, less bleeding and a quicker recovery time.
What to Do at Home
Fight gum disease and keep your heart healthy with diligent brushing and flossing at home: twice a day for two minutes using a quality fluoride toothpaste and once a day with the flossing product you like using. Additionally, get semi-annual check-ups and cleanings with Drs. Gasper and Orban. They carefully check their patients for:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
- Dental bite and alignment issues
- Condition of existing restorations such as crowns and fillings
Preventive dentistry uncovers oral health problems before they seriously impact teeth, gums and systemic health.
Please Come See Us
Why not contact Aesthetic Dentistry by Design for your appointment today? The team will be happy to talk to you about keeping your gums healthy.