Despite widespread awareness and better treatment options than in the past, gum disease is still a common and prevalent problem among American adults. Almost half (47%) of American adults over age 30 have some form of gum disease ranging from mild to severe, and a whopping 70% of adults over age 65 have the disease.
When left untreated, gum disease can result in permanent damage to the underlying bone and tissue that supports your teeth and gums, and ultimately leads to tooth loss in severe cases. The good news is that it’s also very preventable and treatable when caught early.
Although some people may have a higher risk of developing gum disease due to factors like genetics and family history, the good news is that it’s highly preventable in most cases.
And when caught in the early stage (gingivitis), gum disease can be reversed before it has the chance to cause permanent damage.
Plaque and tartar-causing bacteria cause gum inflammation, which can result in:
These symptoms are the telltale signs of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is easily treatable and usually doesn’t lead to lasting damage to your teeth and gums.
As gum disease progresses, pockets form between your teeth and gums, where bacteria can accumulate and cause lasting damage to your gums like bone loss and receding gums, as well as infections.
The damage from moderate and advanced gum disease is usually irreversible, and advanced gum disease (also known as periodontitis) can result in tooth loss.
Here are a few steps you can take right now to lower your risk of developing gum disease:
If gum disease runs in your family, you have a higher-than-average risk of developing it too. The structure of your gums can also increase your risk of developing gum disease, so talk to your dentist about the best gum disease prevention plan for you.
There’s more to your gum health than meets the eye, and you may not always experience symptoms right away. This is why you should follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines and schedule a dental exam and professional cleaning every six months.
In some cases, we may recommend that you come in more frequently if you have underlying oral health problems and are at high risk for developing gum disease or have dealt with it in the past.
The best gum disease prevention begins at home. Brush after meals and floss every day to keep your teeth and gums healthy between dental exams.
Brush your teeth thoroughly using a gentle circular motion that covers all of your teeth, and change your toothbrush every few months or as soon as the bristles begin to wilt.
A solid oral hygiene routine is your first line of defense, and it’s never too late to start.
Just like your general health, your oral health relies on what you eat (and drink). Drink plenty of water to keep the saliva flowing. It helps wash away gum disease-causing bacteria. And limit your alcohol and sugar consumption.
If you smoke, now is the time to quit, as tobacco increases your risk of gum disease complications and other health problems.
For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact us at Arden Dental Group today to schedule an appointment at our office in Asheville, North Carolina.