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You may know that gum disease can lead to bad breath and lost teeth. But what you may not know is that if left untreated, gum disease can have complications that reach beyond your mouth. Because gum disease allows bacteria to infect your body, it can lead to complications for diabetes, respiratory infections, a heart attack or stroke, and even dementia.

The primary cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Your gums react to the presence of plaque by swelling, which allows even more plaque to work its way below the gumline. This permits bacteria access to your body and then an infection could result.

Depending on the severity of your gum disease, your dentist may have you make some lifestyle changes or brush and floss more effectively. You may need medication, or in some cases, surgery. One way to treat gum disease in its early stages is through a two-step process known as scaling and root planing. This often takes two visits and a local anesthetic may be required. In scaling, the dentist will use an instrument to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth above and below the gumline. Then, usually during the second appointment, the dentist will clean and smooth the roots of your teeth.

The best way to deal with gum disease is through prevention. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day. You should also see your dentist every six months for your regular cleanings and examinations. Depending on the health of your mouth, you may need to see the dentist more frequently. If you are concerned about gum disease or if it is time for your family’s routine appointments, our dentist Dr. Alex Osovsky has a chair for you! If you live in the Buffalo Grove, Illinois, area and would like to schedule a visit at Dental Esthetics of Buffalo Grove, call 847-850-0600 today. We look forward to helping you have a healthy smile!