This may sound like a trick question, but really it’s not. The “correct” answer, of course, is that both are equally important. But, I have a different view and will share it later in this article.
Both gums and teeth require good to excellent daily hygiene to remain healthy. Prevention of both periodontal disease and dental decay is accomplished using the same techniques and products. Both gum disease and dental decay are caused by the attack of bacteria which produce acid. This acid causes damage to both hard and soft oral tissues including gums, enamel, dentin and bone. Both conditions if not properly and promptly addressed will result in the eventual loss of teeth as well as the inability to properly chew food. And, both problems are a source of embarrassment and self consciousness due to missing teeth, bad breath, swollen and red gums, black holes, etc., etc.
Both teeth and gums are checked at every dental re-care appointment. Commonly, both of these dental diseases go unnoticed by patients until more involved and expensive treatments are required. In the case of cavities, decay which has advanced to the point when a patient feels pain will generally require root canal therapy. And, in the case of gum disease, by the time a patient realizes that there is a problem, the solution often involves the services of a periodontist, possible gum surgery and / or loss of teeth. Unrecognized and untreated periodontal disease will eventually lead to loose teeth as a result of the loss of bone and the attachment of the teeth.
Finally, both gum disease and tooth decay result in the existence of chronic infection and inflammation which has detrimental affects on the overall health of the body. A chronic infection which becomes acute, can result in serious illness which may require hospitalization. The hidden impact of such diseases, however, is that these chronic inflammations increase the risk of other health issues including heart disease, cancer, complicated births, etc.
As promised, my view whenever planning the treatment for patients and explaining its need is that once acute infection and pain are under control, the health of the gums is the number one priority. Consider the gums and bone to be the foundation which supports the teeth. Without a solid foundation, even the healthiest teeth can be lost. Once the periodontal condition is stable and healthy, then the teeth can be addressed as needed.
If you have any questions about gum disease or dental decay, please feel free to contact us by telephone @ 908.359.6655 or via our website www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com