That old nemesis of dental plaque is made up of many types of bacteria, the same types that cause cavities. When we brush, floss, and have our teeth professionally cleaned, we are attempting to remove as much of this bacteria as possible to prevent gum disease. Think in terms of getting a splinter in your finger-your finger turns red and inflamed until you take out the splinter. Well, bacterial plaque is the splinter, and it causes your gums to turn red and become inflamed, a condition called gingivitis. Your body wants to remove this bacteria but it can't, so instead it breaks down the tiny ligaments that hold the gum to your tooth. Therefore, when you see Dr. Kroll for an examination, he always measures the space between your tooth and gum to check for disease, spaces called periodontal pockets.
If gingivitis is allowed to remain on your teeth it can lead to a disease that causes you to lose the bone around your teeth, the very bone that holds your teeth in your jaw. This happens when your body's immune system attempts to fight off the gingivitis, but in doing so it actually eats away at this bone. When bone loss occurs, your teeth become loose. Most denture wearers today are most likely people who lost their teeth to periodontal disease.
Surprisingly, current research has shown a connection between periodontal disease and the risk for a heart attack or stroke. Even if you don't have other risk factors-such as smoking, genetics, or being overweight-you may still be at risk if you have periodontal disease. Unfortunately, one of the many pitfalls of periodontal disease is a lack of pain, so many people don't realize they have a problem until it's too late. That's why we recommend having your teeth cleaned and your gum tissue examined at least every six months.
There are a host of new dental technologies available today to treat periodontal disease, often without surgery. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kroll today, and he can perform a thorough examination of your gums and the bone around your teeth so you can keep that healthy and beautiful smile for the rest of your life.