Gum disease is a condition that impacts 47.2% of adults aged 30 and older in the United States.1 Gum disease impacts dental and overall health, but most people don’t realize it can also impact mental health. If you suspect you have issues with your gums, the best thing you can do is search for “gum disease treatment near me” to find the help you need.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, refers to inflammation and infections of the gums and the oral structures that support your teeth. Often, improper oral hygiene leads to this issue, but some people are prone to developing it even if they floss and brush their teeth, as dentists recommend. This is especially true of people who have dry mouth issues since saliva helps to remove bacteria.
Common signs of periodontal disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Sore gums
- Purplish or reddish gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Changes in how your teeth fit together
A buildup of plaque causes gum disease because plaque is full of bacteria. The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, when the gums are red and swollen, but there’s still no bone loss.
If not treated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, when your gums start pulling away from your teeth, creating pockets where plaque and bacteria can collect. This progresses to the breakdown of ligament and bone, potentially leading to loose teeth.
How Gum Disease Impacts Mental Health
Gum disease can worsen or even lead to many health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, because bacteria can make it to other body parts through the bloodstream and cause inflammation. Until recently, however, the effects of gum disease appeared to be related only to physical health, not mental health.
A study has found, however, that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.2 Although it’s not yet entirely clear why gum disease affects mental health, the worries that come with having an illness — especially one that other people can notice — contribute to everyday stress. This can affect your mood and lower your quality of life.
One potential connection between gum disease and the development of mental health issues is inflammation. Mild inflammation in the brain has been linked with depression and anxiety, and gum disease causes low-grade systemic inflammation.3
The way that inflammation affects your body then creates a vicious cycle, with depression and other mental health concerns potentially affecting your oral hygiene. This, in turn, worsens gum disease and causes more inflammation, aggravating the issue.
Why Getting Treatment for Gum Disease Is Essential
Your oral health is connected to the rest of your health. If you have bacteria causing damage to your gums, it can travel through your bloodstream, resulting in inflammation and triggering or worsening conditions. Inflammation, for example, causes your blood sugar levels to rise and insulin sensitivity to decrease, making diabetes more likely.
The bacteria in your mouth that travel through your bloodstream when you have gum disease also target your heart valves, potentially leading to heart disease. The inflammation also changes how your brain receives blood and oxygen, which puts you at risk of having a stroke.
Gum disease impacts your jawbone health and your teeth as well. Untreated periodontal disease increases your chances of losing teeth because it causes jawbone degeneration, giving teeth a less sturdy structure for their roots.
Finding Gum Disease Treatment Near Me
If you have signs of gum disease, turning to an expert periodontist is essential for avoiding the complications it can cause, including tooth decay, systemic health problems, and mental health concerns. At Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester, we offer the services you need to prevent and treat gum disease. Contact us today to make an appointment with our periodontist. 585-685-2005