Q and A: Gum Disease and Men’s Health

Most adults experience bleeding, painful gums at some point in their life. However, many of us do not realize the seriousness of gum disease. Gum disease is inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support teeth. If left untreated, it can cause bone loss. As we approach Father’s Day, your Rochester dentists, Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer, would like to take a closer look at gum disease’s impact on other areas of men’s health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease (gum disease) in men may influence heart health, prostate health, and developing cancers such as kidney cancer, pancreatic, and blood cancers. The doctors now address some of their patients’ most common questions regarding gum disease.

Q: What are the symptoms of gum disease?

A: Symptoms of gum disease include red, bleeding, or swollen gums, receding gums, the appearance of elongated teeth, sensitive teeth, or loose teeth.

Q: What causes gum disease?

A: Plaque buildup causes gum disease. When plaque remains on the teeth, gums can become inflamed or infected. This is known as gingivitis, a mild case of gum disease. If gingivitis is not treated, it may worsen and become periodontitis in which the gums recede from the teeth and form pockets in between the gums and teeth. The plaque can then extend below the gum line. As the pockets expand, the gum tissue and bone deteriorates, and teeth can loosen and fall out.

Q: How do you treat gum disease?

A: Mild gum disease can be corrected with regular dental hygiene habits of twice daily brushing and flossing. Regular dental cleanings are another excellent tool in treating gum disease. More advanced gum disease may require a professional deep cleaning and sometimes medications.

Q: What areas of men’s health are associated with gum disease?

A: Research shows that men with a history of gum disease have a 14 percent higher chance of developing cancer, particularly kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers. Research also shows that gum disease may put men at an elevated risk of developing heart disease. In addition, prostate health and gum health appear to be connected in some way. Men who have both prostatitis, prostrate inflammation, and gum disease secrete more PSA, prostate-specific antigen, than men with just prostatitis or gum disease. Researchers have yet to determine the exact causal relationship between these two areas of health, but it appears that they are associated with one another.

About Our Doctors

If you would like to discuss gum disease with our doctors or schedule a consultation, call Calcagno Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (507) 218-8936. Dr. Calcagno and Dr. Heimer proudly treat patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.