Gum Disease – More Common Than You Think by Donna Martin, on 17-Feb-2016
It is caused by plaque. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth that can easily be removed with proper brushing. If the plaque is not removed, it will calcify into a hard surface called tarter. Tarter cannot be removed with brushing. It will need to be removed by a dental hygienist.
Gum disease is usually painless, therefore, you may not even know you have it.
Potential Warning Signs of Gum Disease:
- gums that bleed easily
- red, swollen, tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from teeth
- persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- change in the fit of partial dentures
If you have some of these warning signs, it is important to see the dentist right away. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This may cause your gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. When detected at this stage, the disease is usually reversible and can be eliminated by having a professional cleaning at your dental office. This requires a follow up of daily brushing and flossing at home.
Risk factors that may increase the chance of developing gum disease include:
- poor oral hygiene
- smoking or chewing tobacco
- crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- certain medications
Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. This affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. You may lose tissue and bone that supports your teeth. It can become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth may become loose and start moving. Most of the time it gets worse gradually, however, there can be periods of rapid progression.
REMEMBER – it is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. This is why regular visits to your dentist are so important.
Several Myths about gum disease:
- Gum disease is not that common – half of adults over 30 are affected by some form of gum disease.
- No cavities, No gum disease – even if you have no cavities, you may still have gum disease. It is usually painless, therefore, most people don’t know they have it.
- I will lose my teeth – you do not have to lose teeth. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical in managing gum disease.
- Bleeding gums are normal during pregnancy – not everyone experiences this during pregnancy. Take extra care when brushing and flossing at home. The dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to help prevent this.
- Bad breath – other factors besides gum disease may trigger bad breath. See the dentist to determine the cause.
We can easily assess your dental status and develop a personalized treatment plan to ensure optimal dental health for you. Call our office to schedule your appointment today.
*Mention this blog and receive $25 off an Oral B Triumph toothbrush with Bluetooth technology!