Gum disease is a severe condition that can lead to numerous health problems. Although most cases of gum disease are caused by poor oral hygiene, other factors can contribute to the development of the condition, such as smoking and medical conditions like diabetes.
Left untreated can lead to tooth loss and an increased risk of developing oral cancer. While good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease, regular dental check-ups are also essential to catch the condition early and treat it before it becomes severe.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque build-up on the teeth and gums. If not regularly removed with brushing and flossing, it can harden into a yellow calculus called tartar. Tartar build-up at the gum line irritates and inflames the soft tissue.
The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is characterized by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis—a more serious form of gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Periodontitis affects your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause your teeth to loosen or even fall out.
Does Gum Disease Cause Cancer?
Gum disease doesn’t directly cause cancer, but studies have found that people with gum disease are more likely to develop mouth cancer. Another study found that patients with severe periodontitis have a 24% increased risk of developing colorectal and lung cancer.
While the exact mechanism by which gum disease increases the risk of cancer is not yet known, it is thought that the bacteria associated with gum disease may contribute to the development of cancerous cells.
People with gum disease are also more likely to smoke and use alcohol, which are risk factors for mouth cancer. More research is needed to determine whether gum disease is a direct cause of cancer or merely a risk factor.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
There are several ways to prevent gum disease:
- Brushing and flossing regularly helps to remove plaque and tartar from teeth.
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can help kill bacteria that contribute to gum disease.
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help detect any early signs of gum disease so that it can be treated before it becomes more serious.
- Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your chances of developing gum issues like recession or dry mouth, which can exacerbate gum disease symptoms.
Visit Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center for an Oral Cancer Screening
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so taking care of your teeth is essential. That’s why we recommend you visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. A dentist can help prevent gum disease and perform an oral cancer screening to identify potential cancer symptoms early when there is a higher chance of successful treatment.
At Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center, we are dedicated to helping our patients maintain healthy smiles. Call us today at our offices in Deerfield (224) 282-8939 and Lakeview (773) 525-5545 to schedule an appointment.