If you are living with gum disease, you probably already know that red, swollen, and bleeding gums come with the territory. While these symptoms can be reversed if caught in their early stages (gingivitis), they can worsen over time if left untreated. Should this happen, you will not only face increased inflammation, but you’ll also suffer bone and tooth loss, which can negatively impact your oral health and facial structure. If you’re wondering how bacteria that attack the soft oral tissues can change your appearance, a periodontist in Worcester explains.
Your Changing Appearance: The Negative Effects of Gum Disease
Surprisingly gum disease and facial shape go hand-in-hand. When bacteria attack the tissue, it begins by irritating and causing inflammation to your gums. As it spreads beneath the gum line, the infection then targets your teeth and bone. As a result, your teeth can become loose and fall out, and your bone will begin to deteriorate.
When a tooth’s root is no longer there to stimulate the jawbone, changes in the facial shape can occur. In fact, it is believed that nearly 25% of the jawbone ridge width goes away in the first year of tooth loss. Not only can the angle of your face change (i.e., the nose appears longer, vertical lines appear deeper on your face), but your bite will also shift, creating an unhappy or harsh look.
Also, your chin can protrude forward, your lips can become thin, and your jowls will sag, all of which can cause you to appear older than you actually are.
How to Reduce the Risk and Maintain a Healthy Appearance
First and foremost, if you suspect you are suffering from the symptoms associated with gum disease, do not wait to seek treatment. A trusted periodontist can quickly diagnose the problem and get you the help you need to avoid potential bone and tooth loss. Whether it is through surgical treatments (i.e., bone grafting, gum grafting, osseous surgery, crown lengthening) or less invasive solutions like scaling and root planing, you can take back control of your gum health and maintain a more youthful and beautiful appearance.
No matter if you are currently living with gum disease or are simply looking for ways to prevent it in the first place, there are things you can do, including:
- Being consistent with your oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush as well as flossing at least once a day and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
- Visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.
- Knowing the signs of gum disease so you can act quickly should you notice a change in your soft oral tissues.
- Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a periodontist if you want to be sure your gums are in optimal condition.
By keeping these tips in mind and being proactive about your oral health, you can reduce your risk for gum disease and remain confident in your facial appearance.
About the Authors
At Handsman & Haddad Periodontics, P.C., we are specialists in periodontal care. Dr. David Handsman and Dr. Todd Jenny are trained experts who can help improve your soft oral tissues and offer preventive tips to avoid potential dangers that can come with worsening gum health. If you suspect you may be suffering from red, inflamed, or tender gums and are worried your symptoms are causing changes to occur throughout your face, contact us at (508) 753-5444.