Gum disease can be something that many people ignore. It's not particularly painful and its effects aren't immediate. However, it can cause problems for the entire body if it goes unchecked. Dr. Alan Timko, your Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania dentist has experience diagnosing and treating gum disease and offers some information about its effects here.
The gist of gingiva
Your teeth need healthy gums in order to function properly. The gum tissue, also called gingiva, holds the teeth in place in the jawbone and forms a tight seal around the roots of the teeth to protect them from decay. Healthy gums fit smoothly and tightly over the teeth, are "coral pink" in color and have a texture and firmness similar to an orange peel.
Misfortunes for your mouth
Unhealthy gums, on the other hand, are often reddened and swollen. Dr. Timko often has Pittsburgh patients with gum disease who complain about their gums bleeding easily. Diseased gums also appear "puffy" on their edges from inflammation and they will eventually recede away from the teeth. If unhealthy gums go untreated, they can quickly become a systemic problem. The constant exposure to bacterial infection can spread to the jawbone, which can deteriorate its structure and lead to tooth loss. Studies have also shown that the steady stream of bacteria can also have an effect on the heart.
Guard your gums
When your Pittsburgh dentist asks how often you floss, it isn't to put you on the spot. Flossing helps keep the bacteria that cause gum disease at bay by breaking up the colonies that form between the teeth. Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day is also part of a good dental hygiene regimen.
Gum disease is treatable, but it is an ongoing process that requires your cooperation and responsibility. To schedule an evaluation for gum disease with Dr. Alan Timko in Pittsburgh, contact our office at (412) 364-6777 today!