7 Facts Everyone Needs To Know About Gum Disease

You can prevent gum disease by brushing, flossing, rinsing and going to the dentist regularly. However, even if you are diligent about those precautions, you still need to understand a few basic things about this issue. Here are the essential facts all people should know about gum disease.

1. Half of Americans Over 30 Have Gum Disease

Gum disease is not rare. In fact, half of American adults over the age of 30 suffer to some degree from this affliction. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that percentage equates to 64.7 million Americans. Gum disease is even more common among seniors. 

2. The Symptoms of Gum Disease Can Be Easy to Spot

If you're worried that you have gum disease, you should make an appointment with a dentist. But you can look for some of the symptoms on your own. Here are some common signs that you may have gum disease:

  • Your gums bleed often.
  • Your gums look red, puffy or swollen.
  • You suffer from persistent bad breath.
  • It hurts when you chew.
  • You've lost teeth, or your teeth are loose for no particular reason.
  • Your gum line is visibly receding from your teeth.
  • A pocket has formed between your tooth and your gum.

Note that sometimes the appearance of a pocket doesn't mean that you have gum disease. You can also get cavities along the gum line, even if your gums are relatively healthy.

3. Some Factors Make You More Prone to Get Gum Disease

If you have a family history of gum disease, you should pay special attention to your oral health to try to avoid gum disease. Additionally, medications that reduce saliva, cancer treatments and diabetes can also increase your risk.

Although men tend to get gum disease more often than women, women still need to be vigilant about their oral health, especially during times of hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause. Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease as well as other oral issues, so if you smoke, you should consider quitting.

4. Gum Disease Is Linked to Inflammatory Issues

Although more research still needs to be done, a lot of research that links gum disease with inflammatory issues, including arthritis, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a narrowing or hardening of the arteries, and it leads to heart disease. Because gum disease is linked to these serious issues, if you have symptoms of gum disease, you should get help as soon as possible.

5. Gingivitis Is Reversible

Gum disease falls into three categories or stages. The first is gingivitis, which is followed by periodontitis and finally advanced periodontitis. If you are still in the gingivitis stage, you are in luck - gingivitis is reversible.

Gingivitis basically starts when a lot of bacteria builds up on your teeth. Bacteria buildup leads to the formation of plaque, a sticky layer of goo that needs to be professionally removed. Eventually, the bacteria spreads to your gums and causes an infection. However, with lots of flossing, brushing and rinsing, you can reclaim the health of your gums.

6. Scaling and Root Planing Can Help

If your gum disease is a bit more advanced, you may want to consider scaling and root planing. With this procedure, the dentist scrapes the plaque off your teeth and any exposed roots. Then, he or she smooths (or planes) the teeth. This gives your gums healthy teeth to latch on to. When your gums attach to your teeth, your mouth can stop the spread of bacteria and the recession of your gums.

7. There Are Surgical Options

For severe cases, you may want to consider surgical options. A dentist or oral surgeon can graft healthy tissue into the gums. Alternatively, a professional may be able to manipulate the gums to get rid of pockets. 
To get help with your gums, contact us today. At Burgess Dental, we diagnose and treat all stages of gum disease. Call today to make an appointment.