How Gum Disease Increases Your Risk of Cavities

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So many people suffer from gum disease—it's estimated that nearly half the population has mild or worse gum disease. Gum disease can be a major problem in an of itself, increasing the risk of teeth becoming infected, bacteria spreading through blood, and more. However, the problems don't stop there. If you have untreated gum disease, the risk of your teeth developing cavities could increase.

Read on to learn how this happens and how you should act to prevent this problem.

The Risk to Teeth

Gum disease tends to be painful and unsightly, but it doesn't stop there. When gum disease isn't treated, it can cause gums to recede; that is, they pull back slightly from the surface of the teeth. Gums can become shortened this way and begin revealing parts of the tooth that would ordinarily be protected by the gums.

The reason why receding gums are a problem for teeth is that teeth are tough, but only where they're meant to be exposed to the outside world. For most of the tooth, strong and hard enamel prevents damage and infection. However, the part of the tooth that's hidden under your gums doesn't have this hard shell. Instead, dentin is at the surface, and the tooth's pulp is closer to the surface.

Dentin, unlike enamel, is extremely susceptible to damage. Simply drinking an acidic beverage or eating sugar can harm this part of the tooth easily. This means that your risk of developing tooth decay on this part of the tooth is higher than if your gums were healthy.

Treating the Problem

The good news is, gum disease can be reversed, and damaged gums can be repaired. If you think you have gum disease, the first thing you should do is visit a dentist. They can assess the condition of your gums and treat them to reverse gum disease quickly and effectively.

If your dentist finds that your gums have receded, they may suggest a tissue graft to repair them once you no longer have gum disease. Tissue grafts are taken from the roof of the mouth and attached to the gums, lengthening them and protecting the teeth once more. It's a simple procedure that can improve the look of your smile and keep your teeth safe.

Gum disease and receding gums can cause major problems for your teeth. Don't put off visiting a dentist if you think you have gum disease. The longer you take, the more likely it is that you will develop cavities. Learn more by contacting services like Milner Dentistry.