Studies have shown that anywhere from 50-80% of adults in America suffer from gum disease at some level. It may likely be very mild, but a lot of individuals suffer from pretty severe gum disease. Unfortunately, it doesn't really cause much physical pain until it is in severe to later stages. At that point, people have major infections in their mouth that is affecting their overall health, but additionally, they can end up losing their natural teeth. Over the years, Dr. Port has seen plenty of patients who didn't have many cavities in their teeth but were losing their teeth because of gum disease.
Gum disease is essentially a large amount of bacteria getting in and around the individualized teeth and causing localized infection. Patient's gums may swell and bleed, and if infected, they inject some of that infection every time they eat and "squeeze" the infection out of the gums and into their mouths, which can spread the infection throughout their blood stream and affect their overall health. As unpleasant as this may sound, this is exactly how gum disease affects every part of your body. It can exacerbate a situation where a patient suffers from diabetes or other medical condition, and can drag one's entire system downward.
In our office, we are able to help patients by screening for gum disease, checking to see how healthy their gums are, and give them an idea of where they stand in terms of susceptibility for gum infections and gum disease. If a patient is suffering from gum disease when they come into our office, we work with them to get them treatment. Many of our treatment options are non-surgical as long as we catch the gum disease in the early stages. Once we get them healthy again, we then educate them on how to keep their mouth healthy for the rest of their lives.