September 15, 2023
“Gum disease” is probably a term that you’ve heard often enough, especially if you regularly visit the dentist. But how much do you really know about it? Even though gum disease is a common oral health issue that is estimated to affect around 80% of the adult population of the United States, there are plenty of things you might not know about it. Your dentist is here to share 4 gum disease facts that may surprise you.
1. You Won’t Always Realize That You Have Gum Disease
You might assume that you’ll know right away if something is wrong inside your mouth, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Gum disease is known to develop silently; this means that the earliest symptoms aren’t always obvious, and you may not necessarily catch them on your own. By the time you start seeing the warning signs, your gum disease may have already turned into a serious threat to your oral health.
The best way to make sure that your gum disease is caught as early as possible is to see your dentist every six months. Your dentist will be able to identify the signs of a gum infection by performing a detailed examination of your mouth.
2. You Can Spread the Bacteria That Cause Gum Disease to Others
Gum disease is technically not contagious. However, you can pass on the bacteria that cause gum disease to others by kissing or sharing a fork. As such, if you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you need to be aware of how your actions can potentially increase the chances of your loved ones also suffering from it.
3. More People Lose Teeth to Gum Disease Than to Cavities
What do you think the most common reason for losing teeth is? Many people assume that the answer is cavities, but while tooth decay can potentially lead to an incomplete smile if left unchecked for too long, gum disease is actually the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Advanced gum disease can damage the gum and bone tissue supporting the teeth. Consequently, your teeth may come loose and might reach the point where they can no longer be saved.
4. Gum Disease is Linked to a Number of Serious Health Problems
Thanks to various studies, there is quite a bit of evidence that points to a connection between gum disease and various health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. As such, taking care of your mouth to keep gum disease at bay can also be seen as a way to protect your overall health.
Is there anything else you want to know about gum disease? Be sure to ask your dentist the next time you visit them for a checkup or cleaning. The more you know about gum disease, the easier it is to deal with it appropriately.
About the Author
Dr. James T. Gray belongs to a number of dental organizations, including the Texas Dental Association, the Fort Worth District Dental Society, and the American Dental Association. He uses scaling and root planing as well as soft tissue laser treatments to help patients in Arlington who are suffering from gum disease. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Gray, visit his website or call (817) 460-4131.
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