It is estimated that one out of every two American adults suffers from a form of gum disease called gingivitis, possibly without realizing it. As one of two main types of gum disease, gingivitis is considered a milder form and is often overlooked because it causes no pain. Along with the tooth damage and chronic bad breath associated with gum disease, current research has indicated an alarming correlation between gum disease and other health problems such as heart problems, respiratory infections, diabetes, dementia, and strokes. Experts believe that adults need more education on the negative effects gum disease can have on overall health in order to identify the warning signs and take action before the condition becomes advanced.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is caused by an uncontrolled buildup of the bacteria that causes plaque and tartar. It is characterized by swollen, red, and bleeding gums with little to no discomfort. Although many consider bleeding normal during regular brushing and flossing, regular occurrences should be evaluated by a dental professional. Because gingivitis doesn’t involve bone or real tissue damage, the symptoms can often be reversed and controlled under the care of a dentist. If left untreated, it can lead to the more serious and sometimes irreparable damage caused by the more advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurs when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth forming pockets that can collect food particles and debris. This environment becomes a prime breeding ground for harmful, infection-causing bacteria. Additionally, advanced periodontitis can break down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place, leading to loose teeth or actual tooth loss in the most severe cases. Advanced gum disease also increases tooth sensitivity. Foods and beverages that are hot, cold or sugary are likely to cause extreme discomfort for the sufferer.
While poor oral hygiene remains one of the main culprits for gum disease, there are other factors that contribute to the condition including diet, stress, tobacco use and genetics. The best way to prevent gum disease is to establish a healthy routine of preventative care. Because the removal of plaque is the key element, you should brush at least twice a day as well as floss. Plaque takes less than 24 hours to build up and the longer it remains, the more it calcifies and hardens and the harder it becomes to remove. Even with the best efforts at home, every oral health plan should include regular trips to the dentist. Tight or hard-to-reach places between the teeth that are nearly impossible to adequately clean on your own can easily be handled by a dental professional.
Keeping your teeth healthy is now about more than simply keeping your smile beautiful and preventing cavities. Good oral maintenance is easier than you think to incorporate into your daily life and can not only impact your teeth but also your overall health.Share This: