In honor of National Gum Care Month, Pure Dental is raising awareness of gum disease – a widespread, yet treatable disease—which if undetected or ignored, can hurt much more than just smiles.
Gum disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and even stillbirths; and between 74% to 85% of Americans suffer from it (most of whom don’t even know they are affected.)
GUM DISEASE (PERIODONTITIS)
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria that collect in the gum pockets and involves progressive loss of the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth.
GUM DISEASE IN THE UNITED STATES
- Out of the 200 million American adults, 85% suffer from some degree of gum disease. 50% have moderate to severe disease and even then, only 3% receive treatment.
- Gum disease threatens much more than oral health; studies have linked it to heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, preterm birth, low birth weight, and even stillbirths. Although experts vary in their estimation of the prevalence of gum disease, it is clearly one of the most common medical conditions in the U.S.
POSSIBLE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF GUM DISEASE
RISK FACTORS FOR PERIODONTITIS
- Poor Hygiene: Bacteria and plaque build-up without proper brushing and flossing.
- Age: Risks increase with age. More than half of adults 35- to 69-years-old show signs surrounding 3 or 4 teeth.
- Genetics: Those whose parents suffered gum disease are 12 times more likely to harbor the bacteria that cause gum disease.
- Smokers: More than 40 percent of smokers lose their teeth during their lifetimes. Even secondhand smoke carries risks, with a 50 percent to 60 percent higher incidence of gum disease.
- Certain Medical Conditions
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOUTH AND PREVENT GUM DISEASE
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste: Sticky plaque builds up on the teeth continually, and if left there it quickly develops into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional. Both plaque and tartar contribute to gum disease.
- Floss regularly: Regularly, in this instance, should be interpreted as “every day”. Brushing removes plaque from your teeth, but only floss can clean below the gum line.
- Use mouthwash to remove small particles and reduce plaque: Mouthwash is no substitute for brushing and flossing, but when used alongside other healthy habits it can freshen breath, eliminate bacteria, and keep teeth strong.
- Floss with water: A water irrigator, also known as an oral irrigator or a dental water jet, is a device that shoots a stream of water between the teeth to remove plaque and bacteria. Add it to your morning routine for a really fresh, deep cleaning.
- Eat a nutritious diet: A healthy, balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients and low in sugar can boost the immune system and help your body fight off harmful bacteria, inflammation and, infection. If you want to keep your teeth white, don’t forget to eat your greens!
- Visit us every six months for a good cleaning: We can also assess the health of your teeth and gums and refer you to a periodontist if you are experiencing any problems. Early treatment of gum disease is important. Left unchecked, it can destroy teeth, gums, bones, and connective tissue, and contribute to a variety of health problems. So make sure to visit Pure Dental at least twice a year.
Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease and bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus – or tartar. This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth and bone loss. Pure Dental will make sure you leave their office with plaque and tartar free teeth and the knowledge and tools to help keep your smile disease-free.
The health of your gums plays a key role in your overall physical health. You can prevent periodontal disease with regular checkups and of course with daily brushing and flossing. If you notice your gums are red or bleeding easily, call us at 631 246-4443 today for a periodontal checkup and cleaning.