Beware Of Gum Disease

When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene the average American could recite everything they’ve heard since elementary school including things like brushing, flossing, eating healthy and visiting the dentist on time.  The same goes for understanding why we maintain good oral hygiene; to prevent cavities and gum disease. With so many American’s knowing how to maintain good oral health and why it’s important it often comes as a surprise to discover that 75% of Americans are walking around with some degree of periodontal disease.



Perhaps one of the main factors in how this happens is a result of not thoroughly understanding the “why” in oral health. It is one thing to know you can develop gum disease, but a whole other area to know gum disease from a firsthand experience.  For example many of us don’t know that mild bleeding while brushing or flossing is actually a sign of gum disease and not normal at all. Even further few individuals are aware that there are different types of gum disease and different causes.

Wat Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?  

Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the bone and gums surrounding the teeth.  It begins with plaque build-up along the gum line that is not properly removed. The plaque literally causes the gums to pull away from the base of the tooth forming pockets. Bacteria then fill the pocket and begin to multiply.

During the early stages, known as gingivitis, the bacteria causes inflammation of the soft tissue. This inflammation results in the red, swollen and often tender gums all too familiar with gum disease. When left untreated gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease. Inevitably periodontitis leads to loose and missing teeth, deteriorated bone tissue and a permanent change in your natural smile.

Forms Of Periodontal Disease: 

Periodontists recognize three forms of periodontal disease –

  • Aggressive Periodontitis –

Patient is otherwise clinically healthy with a rapid attachment loss.

  • Chronic Periodontitis –

 Inflammation in supporting tissue with a progressive attachment and bone loss.

  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease –

Necrosis of gingival tissue, alveolar bone and periodontal ligament; and a manifestation of systemic disease – often begins at a young age and is associated with heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

Risk Factors And Prevention Of Gum Disease:  

While poor oral hygiene is a key factor in developing periodontal disease it isn’t the only risk factor you need to consider. Other factors include:

•       Smoking/tobacco use
•       Genetics
•       Hormone changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause in women
•       Chronic stress
•       Certain types of medications such as contraceptives, anti-depressants and heart medicines
•       Clenching or grinding your teeth
•       Poor nutrition and obesity
•       Diabetes due to altered levels of sugar in the blood
•       Other systemic disease

Evaluating your risk factors and educating yourself on early warnings signs is perhaps the most proactive approach you can take in preventing gum disease.  If any of these risk factors apply to you schedule an appointment to talk to your dentist right away. There are many resources online at your disposal to help educate you on the progression of gum disease, who is at risk and proper diagnosis and treatment.

In the meantime you can begin to monitor your mouth daily for early warning signs including red, swollen or bleeding gums, receding gums, sores in your mouth, bleeding while brushing or flossing, persistent bad breath, and a change in your bite or how your dentures fit. Make note of any changes to discuss with your dentist.

At your next appointment talk with your dental practitioner about any concerns you have. Ask them to observe your brushing and flossing technique to ensure you are effectively removing plaque on a daily basis and make any changes they recommend. If you are not currently doing so, be sure to have a professional cleaning every six months and a complete periodontal exam once a year.  Throw in a healthy diet and regular exercise routine and you’ll be on your way to preventing gum disease.

Are You Aware Of Your Gum Health?  

Hope this article has thrown enough light on gum disease, which usually most of the time goes unchecked because of our ignorance. Like to share your concern, please put your comments below.

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3 comments on “Beware Of Gum Disease
  1. Long Island Periodontist says:

    Many people do not realize that they can have their gum disease treated with a laser. This works as well as surgery but is much less invasive.
    Long Island Periodontist´s last post…..Are Bleeding Gums More Prevalent Among Men Or WomenMy Profile

  2. Gordon says:

    Alot of health problems stem originally from the gums and we forget that oral health affects our over all health.

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