Sep 28th, 2017
Author: Corey Roach
WE BELIEVE the more educated our patients are about dental health issues, the better they’ll be able to prevent them. Today, we want to discuss a disease that over 64.5 million adults suffer from in the US: Periodontal (gum) Disease. We often warn of periodontal disease and the detrimental effects it has on the mouth and body. But, there are many common misconceptions about gum disease. To help you better understand it, we’ve decided to bust some myths today!
Myth #1: Gum Disease Isn’t that Big of a Deal
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. Research shows a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, poor pregnancy outcomes, and other conditions. For example, 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. In the case of heart disease, one theory is gum disease can cause harmful bacteria (from bleeding gums) to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels. This condition can cause blood clots and may lead to heart attack. Your gums can help give us early warning signs of future heath concerns and give us a snapshot of your overall health.
Myth #2: Bleeding Gums Are Normal
This is probably one of the most perpetuated dental health myths. The truth is, bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. Gums swell, bleed and become tender when plaque accumulates on the teeth and around the gum line. Keep your gums healthy by removing plaque and food debris with daily brushing and flossing.
Myth #3: People Get Gum Disease Because They Don’t Clean Their Teeth
While poor oral hygiene definitely contributes to the development of gum disease, there can be many other factors involved. Tobacco use, stress, a bad diet, genetics, and certain illnesses such as diabetes can all increase your risk of developing gum disease. And as we’ve explained before, even being pregnant makes you more susceptible! There are quite a few different bacteria and pathogens that can cause periodontal disease, and some of them are much more destructive than others. At RR Dentistry, we can collect a salivary sample and have this analyzed to find out what particular pathogens you might be fighting against.
We also don’t want our patients to think that if they are cavity-free they couldn’t possibly have gum disease. Gum disease is painless in its beginning stages and many people don’t know they have it. That’s why proper oral hygiene and twice-yearly visits to your dentist are essential for your oral health, even if you don’t have a cavity!
Myth #4: Gum Disease Is Irreversible
What we really want our patients to understand is that gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage: gingivitis! The earlier gingivitis is caught, the easier it is to eliminate it before it advances to full-blown periodontitis. Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis and stop gum disease in its tracks.
To learn more about periodontal screenings, check out the video below!
Myth #5: Only Adults Can Get Gum Disease
Gum disease is much more prevalent in adults, but that doesn’t mean that our children are invulnerable. Children can be more susceptible to gum disease if they are genetically predisposed or have certain illnesses such as autoimmune disorders or diabetes. Even puberty, with all its hormonal changes, can put your child more at risk. Their best defense against any dental disease–gum disease and tooth decay included–is to take care of their teeth at home and visit the dentist on a regular basis.
Myth #6: Everyone With Diabetes Has Gum Disease
If you have diabetes, developing gum disease is not inevitable, although you are certainly at a higher risk. Now more than ever you’ll need a good relationship with and frequent visits to your dentist. A rigorous oral hygiene regimen as well as frequent cleanings can help stave off the onset of gum disease. Proper blood glucose control can also help you lower your risk.
Gum Disease Myths… Busted!
Now that you know more about gum disease, keep up the good work avoiding it! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Thanks for reading!
As always, thank you for supporting our practice.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.