Gum disease is a major health concern for people of all ages and demographics. Tartar and plaque harbor harmful bacteria that, when not removed, cause gum inflammation(gingivitis), tooth decay, bleeding gums, and bone loss and recession (periodontal disease). Good home care, including daily brushing and flossing, along with periodic recalls with a dental hygienist to remove the harmful bacteria, tartar, and plaque can significantly decrease the risk for decay, bone recession, and even tooth loss.
For most patients, routine cleanings every 6 months are effective at minimizing the risk of dental problems and allows us to evaluate the current condition of the mouth and make recommendations for future care. Some patients, however, can require cleanings more often, or even deeper cleanings under anesthesia, called Scaling and Root Planing, to effectively decrease the progression of dental disease. This can be due to excessive time between cleanings, previous history of periodontal disease, higher risk due to systemic disease, or the inability to withstand normal cleanings due to sensitivity and discomfort.
What many people aren't aware of is that the harmful bacteria in a poorly maintained mouth can also increase the risk of many systemic health problems. Bacteria in the mouth is able to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as complications with diabetes, artificial joints, artificial heart valves, and many other systemic conditions. Maintaining a healthy mouth is an important part of maintaining good overall health.