Top 5 Things You NEED to Know About Gum Disease

Do you have any of these symptoms of gum disease:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away?
  • Red or swollen gums?
  • Tender or bleeding gums?
  • Painful chewing?
  • Loose teeth?
  • Sensitive teeth?
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth?

If so, there are five important things you need to know!

Bleeding When You Brush Your Teeth Is NOT Normal!

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the most common (and most overlooked) conditions that impacts your mouth. It can range from mild irritation and inflammation (commonly called gingivitis) to severe damage to the gums and teeth (known as periodontitis). One of the first signs of gingivitis is slight bleeding from the gums after brushing your teeth. You may also notice that your gums are red, swollen and tender, which makes it hard to eat. This is caused by a buildup of bacteria. When food is left on the teeth, it turns into plaque and buildup around the gum line. This buildup causes inflammation and irritation, triggering an immune response by the body.

You Do NOT Have to Be a Serial Smoker or Junk Food Junkie to Get Gum Disease!

You have probably heard about the leading causes of gum disease, smoking and not-so-great brushing habits. But, those are not the only reasons men and women get periodontal disease. There are several other risk factors including:

  • Hormonal changes in females
  • Diabetes
  • Other illnesses and their treatments such as AIDS, cancer and chemotherapy
  • There are hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth.
  • Genetic susceptibility. Some people are just more prone to severe gum disease than others.

Your Mouth Is NOT The Only Part Of The Body That Gum Disease Affects!

While gum disease may not necessarily be the cause of additional health problems, it can make existing conditions worse. The infection and inflammation caused by the presence of gum disease can make the body work overtime to fight the infection. This can lead to weakness of the immune system, giving other infections and diseases the opportunity to attack. Respiratory illnesses, like pneumonia, acute bronchitis and COPD, are known to linger longer than normal when gum disease is present.

As stated previously, smoking and diabetes are risk factors for gum disease. It just so happens, that these same conditions can also be risk factors for heart disease and stroke. While gum disease does not necessarily cause heart disease or a stroke, if you have gum disease, this can be a warning sign for additional problems that may need to be checked out by your doctor.

In addition to the above, almost half of all pregnant women will develop gum disease during their pregnancy. If untreated, these women are more likely to go into premature labor. Babies born prematurely can have problems with under-developed lungs and low birth weight.  If you are not pregnant yet, but you are actively trying to conceive, gum disease could be the issue behind your negative pregnancy tests. Women who have active gum disease take, on average, two to three months longer to conceive than women who do not have gum disease.

Do NOT Let Your Gum Disease Go Untreated!

If you think that you may have gum disease, make sure you visit your dentist as soon as possible. If your dentist confirms periodontal disease, the treatment will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms. For milder cases, a deep clean may do the trick. If the extent of your symptoms has reached past the point where deep cleaning can entirely fix the problem, your dentist may suggest taking medication to avoid surgery. The medication may or may not prevent the need for surgery, which is the last treatment option available.

Gum Disease Is 100% Preventable!

The good news is gum disease is preventable! Do the following and you can have a healthy happy smile!

  • Brushing after meals, especially after dinner and before bed
  • Floss religiously
  • Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist

The most important thing to remember is don’t wait to be diagnosed and treated for gum disease. The symptoms of gum disease will not go away on their own and will worsen over time. Only your dentist can determine the severity of your condition and administer the proper treatment. Be sure to let your dentist know if you are pregnant, have diabetes or other conditions that were discussed previously. The more information your dentist has, the better they will be able to treat you. This will ensure that you regain a healthy mouth and a healthy body.