Gum disease is an incredibly common dental issue. In fact, nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease. However, many people don’t know enough about this disease. As a result, you may start developing signs and not realize it. Therefore, it is crucial to shed light on gum disease and help prevent it.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone supporting the teeth. It typically starts with the buildup of plaque on the teeth and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can cause damage to your oral health. If you don’t remove plaque through regular brushing and flossing, it can turn into tartar. This may also lead to gum inflammation.
What Causes Gum Disease?
There are several factors that can lead to gum disease. You can reduce your risks if you are more informed.
Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the most common causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque to build up, contributing to gum disease. Consistent oral care is the first line of defense.
Smoking and the use of tobacco products increase the risk of gum disease. The chemicals in tobacco harm the gums and also make it harder for them to heal.
Unfortunately, some people may be genetically predisposed to gum disease. If your family has a history of periodontal issues, it’s crucial to be vigilant about oral hygiene.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
You should be on the lookout for the signs of gum disease.
Gums that Bleed Easily
Healthy gums should not bleed during brushing or flossing. If you notice blood, it could be a sign of gum disease.
Persistent Bad Breath
Chronic bad breath that doesn’t improve with oral care may be a symptom of gum disease. The bacteria causing the disease can produce unpleasant odors.
If your gums are pulling away from the teeth, exposing the roots, it may indicate gum disease. This can also lead to increased tooth sensitivity.
Can You Reverse Gum Disease?
In its early stages, you can often reverse gum disease (gingivitis) with proper oral care. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings. However, once it progresses to periodontitis, the damage is usually irreversible, making early detection and intervention crucial.
How is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
A dentist or dental hygienist can diagnose gum disease during a routine dental exam. They will measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums (pockets). They will also check for signs of inflammation, bleeding, or recession.
Is Gum Disease Linked to Other Health Issues?
Research suggests a connection between gum disease and other health conditions. For example, some studies indicate that gum disease connects to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, those with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. Furthermore, the relationship is bidirectional – gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels.
Finally, the bacteria associated with gum disease can be inhaled into the lungs, potentially leading to respiratory infections.