The G-word. Chances are you’ve been exposed to this word at least once today during your daily morning routine. The odds are, however, that you didn’t stop to think about what this word might mean for your health and wellness.
Gingivitis is a commonly thrown around term that can likely be founded printed on the labels of your mouthwash, toothpaste, and floss. While you probably knew to avoid this nasty plaque buildup, the symptoms associated with gingivitis don’t seem to be life-threatening. Swollen gums, irritation, bleeding during toothbrushing–nothing that screams “emergency”. So what has every dentist worried about gingivitis?
The more dangerous cousin of gingivitis
Unfortunately, many with gingivitis do not see a dentist immediately about their condition. As a result, the harmful bacteria that caused the initial swelling and bleeding can spread, turning a mild case of gingivitis into full-on periodontal disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. It occurs when toxins from harmful bacteria break down the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. As more bone decays, teeth loosen from their sockets and eventually fall out. Gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, is mostly caused by plaque. There are, however, several factors that can put you at a higher risk for developing this disease. Read on for these influences and how you can avoid having gum disease.
Who is at risk for gum disease?
While gum disease can be prevented through regular dentist visits and good oral hygiene, the National Institutes of Health reported that there is an advanced risk for people who:
- Have poor oral hygiene (do not brush or floss teeth)
- Are undergoing hormonal changes
- Have HIV, cancer, or diabetes
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease is characterized by several symptoms, which may also be associated with a milder gingivitis:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Swollen gums
- Redness or bleeding
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
If you have any of these symptoms, call our office immediately to find out whether you need further treatment. Visits to a periodontist may be recommended, or you may need to undergo X-rays.
How can I avoid periodontal disease?
If having the above symptoms doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, work to keep your teeth healthy and clean. The most important thing when avoiding gum disease is to treat gingivitis as soon as it occurs. Other ways to keep your smile intact include regular flossing, tooth brushing, and visits to our office.
Next steps for a healthy smile
If the above information worried you, don’t fret just yet. the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reports that only about 5% of adults 20 to 64 have severe gum disease. IF you want to stay in the 95%, try this tonight: no matter how tired you are, brush AND floss your teeth. Contact A Beautiful Smile today for even more ways to prevent gum disease so we can work to keep your smile healthy and intact.