Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. Most adults in the world have gum disease to some degree and most people experience it at least once. It’s much less common in children. If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, a condition called periodontitis can develop. This affects more tissues that support teeth and hold them in place. If periodontitis isn’t treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria. Some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are harmful for the health of your gums. If you don’t remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it builds up and irritates your gums. This can lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.
Though gum disease is actually quite prevalent, few patients know about the risks and impact of this harmful illness. However, by being knowledgeable about this disease, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it! To make sure you remain in good oral health, check out these five facts every patient should know about gum disease.
- Gum disease is more common than you think.
Periodontal disease is also often referred to as the “silent disease,” because many people don’t exhibit symptoms until the illness has progressed. However, gum disease is actually quite common. According to the Center for Disease Control, around 47 percent of adults aged 30 or older have some form of gum disease. By the age of 65, a little over 70 percent of adults have the disease. This is also more common in men than in women, as just over 56 percent of men have periodontal disease. Because of the prevalence of this oral earth issue, it is important to educate yourself on the symptoms, effects, and prevention of this disease.
- Gum disease can impact your overall health.
While gum disease can certainly affect your oral health, it also has widespread effects on systems throughout the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes, and complications during pregnancy. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, this may be a result of inflammation that is linked to this disease.
- There are a number of warning signs of gum disease that you can look out for.
While gum disease can often go unnoticed, there are a few signs and symptoms that you can be on the lookout for. If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, you may have some form of periodontitis:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gum line
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Changes in your bite alignment
- Changes in the fit of dentures or other restorations
If you have any of the above symptoms, be certain to schedule an appointment at Hydro Medical Bali as soon as possible. We can help to put you on a treatment plan and combat this disease.
- There are certain factors that may put you at greater risk.
In order to best prevent periodontitis, it is important to know your risk level for the illness. If you meet any of the following criteria, be sure to be extra mindful of your gum health:
- You’re over the age of 65
- You smoke or use tobacco products
- Your family has a history of gum disease
- You suffer from chronic stress
- You take certain medications that impact your oral health (certain oral contraceptives, heart medication, anti-depressants, etc.)
- You suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding)
- You suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular disease
- You eat a low-nutrient diet
While these factors may increase your risk, this does not mean you will definitely get periodontitis. Luckily, this disease is easily preventable if you take certain precautions.
- Gum disease easily preventable.
Periodontitis may be common, but the good news is that the disease is preventable! Maintaining a solid oral healthcare routine is the first step you can take to prevent this illness. This means brushing your teeth regularly (at least twice per day), flossing daily, and visiting your dentist every six months for a routine check-up. Quitting smoking has also been proven to significantly reduce your chances of getting this disease. For an added boost in your oral health, you must also be sure to take your vitamins. Those who have higher levels of vitamin D are said to be 20% less likely to have gingivitis, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Calcium is great for your jaw bone and teeth, while vitamin C is helpful in preventing bleeding gums. By taking these extra steps to take care of your gums, you can help to prevent this disease and remain in good oral health.
If you have untreated gum disease that develops into periodontitis, it can lead to further complications, such as: gum abscesses (painful collections of pus), receding gums, loose teeth, loss of teeth.
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your gums are painful, swollen or if they bleed when you brush your teeth. Your dentist can carry out a thorough dental examination to check the health of your gums, which may involve inserting a thin metal stick with a bend in one end (periodontal probe) beside your teeth. In some cases, a number of X-rays may be needed to check the condition of your teeth and jaw bone.
It’s important to have regular dental check-ups so any problems with your teeth and gums can be detected and treated early. If you’ve never had gum disease and have good oral health, you may only need to visit your dentist every one to two years for a check-up. You may need to visit your dentist more frequently if you’ve had problems with gum disease in the past. At each appointment your dentist will advise when you need your next appointment. If you have an increased risk of developing gum problems – for example, if you smoke or have diabetes – you may be advised to visit your dentist more often so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored.
At Hydro Medical Clinic, we can help you in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease. To schedule your routine preventative check-up, contact our office today!