February is Gum Disease Awareness Month

What is Gum Disease?

In most instances, daily toothbrushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, can help prevent gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when plaque (a sticky film containing bacteria) has built up, producing toxins that irritate your gingiva, the gum tissue around the base of your teeth. Without treatment, the infection spreads to the underlying jawbone, making your gums bleed and your teeth loose. Individuals with moderate -to-severe gum disease (periodontal disease) may have 2-3 times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event.

Gum Disease and COVID-19

A recent article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discusses the possible relationship between gum disease as a risk factor for systemic diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD and more.

Regarding COVID-19 and gum disease, the same article concludes that “there is enough evidence to propose that periodontal disease acts as a risk factor for COVID-19,” concluding that while “periodontal  health status has not been assessed in patients with COVID-19 illness… it has been suggested that inflammatory factors could play important roles in the association of periodontal disease with comorbidities (more than one disease present).”

What Causes Gum Disease?

Bacteria that settle between the gums and teeth cause periodontal (gum) disease. Factors that increase your risk of gum disease include genetic factors, poor oral hygiene, stress, hormonal changes, alcohol use and poor nutrition. One of the greatest associated risk factors is smoking and tobacco use. Some research indicates that smokers may be 7 times more likely to have gum disease as compared to individuals who don’t smoke.

Treating Gum Disease

It used to be that severe periodontal disease was only treated with uncomfortable gum surgery requiring prolonged healing, uncomfortable bandages (packing) and stitches. Today, those techniques are rarely used. Instead we often treat moderate-to- severe gum disease with the FDA-approved LANAP® laser procedure. This state-of-the-art system utilizes laser energy. A tiny fiber (like the size of three human hairs) gently removes diseased tissue between your gums and teeth without damaging any healthy tissue. LANAP® is safe, and allows for:

  • Less discomfort, bleeding and overall sensitivity
  • Less swelling and/or bleeding
  • Very little downtime post-treatment
  • Promotion of regeneration of supporting tissue

Listen to Dr. Aranguren discuss LANAP®

The South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a leader in laser gum surgery and other treatments for gum disease. Find out more about LANAP® then call our office to set up your consultation today. You can also fill in the brief questionnaire on our website home page and we will contact you within 24 hours.