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Can Gum Disease Affect the Shape of My Face?

June 1, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — allhappysmiles @ 7:34 pm
Patient having their gums inspected by their dentist.

It’s estimated that over 47% of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease, making it quite a common condition! That said, its apparent frequency doesn’t make it any less serious; if left untreated, gum disease can take a serious toll on your oral health. But beyond that, did you know that it can also affect the very shape of your face? Keep reading to learn more from your dentist about how gum disease can progress and begin affecting your facial structure, along with some prevention tactics.

Understanding the Progression of Gum Disease

Gum disease is often the result of poor oral hygiene habits such as neglecting to brush and floss or skipping regular dental visits. At first, it’s relatively easy to miss, but some of the initial symptoms that surface include swollen or tender gums, minor bleeding when brushing your teeth, receding gums, and persistent bad breath.

However, if left unresolved the infection will begin to destroy the gum tissue that supports your teeth, which ultimately results in tooth loss! Additionally, the infection has the possibility of spreading beyond your mouth and causing all sorts of other problems including diabetes and heart disease. It’s important to note that once gum disease progresses from gingivitis (the early, mild stages) to periodontitis (the later, more-advanced stages), it becomes quite difficult to treat and there are many symptoms to manage.

How Gum Disease Changes Your Facial Structure

You might be wondering how the gums inside of your mouth influence the overall shape and structure of your face. It has a lot to do with your teeth; not only are they there to help you bite and chew, but they also provide an incredible amount of support to your face! They also stimulate your jawbones and ensure that they don’t prematurely deteriorate.

If you have missing teeth, your cheeks will appear sunken and hollow, and your jawbone will gradually shrink since it’s not receiving sufficient stimulation. While one missing tooth won’t drastically impact the shape of your face, multiple missing teeth will—and untreated gum disease is a certain path towards missing pearly whites.

Helpful Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

As serious as gum disease can be, it’s fortunately also quite preventable! That said, consider the following to prioritize the health of your gums and preserve your facial structure:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Don’t skip flossing—it’s just as important as brushing!
  • Visit your dentist every six months for biannual checkups and cleanings.
  • Avoid unhealthy dental habits like smoking or using your teeth as tools.
  • Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and opt for a healthy, vitamin-rich diet.
  • Drink plenty of water to help with your mouth’s production of saliva.

If you’re concerned about the health of your gums, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist, and seek out proper treatment. Unresolved gum disease can lead to all sorts of health problems that affect more than just your mouth; even your face is in jeopardy!

About the Author

Dr. Mamata Ponnaganti has proudly served patients and families in the Westchase area for over two decades! Dr. Ponnaganti completed her dental doctorate at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry.  Her practice is pleased to offer many available services including periodontal therapy. If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to reach out online or over the phone: (813) 818-4520.

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