Are You At Risk For Gum Disease?
- February 14, 2016
Your gum health is a good reflection of your overall health. Unfortunately, not enough people take their gum health as seriously as they should.
Last year, National Public Radio reported on a survey about Americans flossing habits. By now, you may know that the American Dental Association recommends flossing every day to remove bacteria and plaque from between your teeth and gums. But how many Americans actually do that? Four out of every 10.
This means that 60 percent of Americans do not floss daily. What’s even more worrisome (at least to most dentists) is that 20 percent of Americans never floss.
While we encourage you and all of our patients in and near Plainville to practice preventive care, rest assured that Gentle Dental Care knows how to treat your gum disease when and if you need treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about factors that increase your risk for gum disease and what we can do about it if you come to our dentist office.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
More than likely, yes. According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, 4 out of every 5 people have some form of gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease.
Many people have a milder form of gum disease called gingivitis. The symptoms are red or swollen gums and gums that bleed easily, such as when you are flossing and brushing your teeth. The bleeding is a clue that either (1) you’re not flossing enough or (2) you may not be flossing correctly.
If left untreated, your mild problem can turn into periodontitis. This is a more advanced form of gum disease. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Gums that bleed
- Gums that are tender
- Gums that hurt when you are chewing
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Loose teeth
In the most advanced stage, gum disease attacks the bones that hold your teeth in your mouth. This is why they can come loose and even fall out.
Raising Your Risks
Some people are at higher risk for gum disease than others. Some of the risks are the result of bad habits while others are the result of things that you can’t control.
In any case, it’s important to know why you may be more likely to develop gum disease.
▶︎ You don’t practice good oral hygiene.
Remember the survey we mentioned above. Forty percent of people say they floss daily, and yet 80 percent of people have gum disease. Those numbers don’t match. Maybe some people are exaggerating how often they floss, or maybe some of them aren’t flossing correctly.
Mouthhealthy.org (the ADA’s patient education website) has a handy step-by-step guide on how to floss every day. Break off 18 inches of floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. hold the floss between your index fingers and thumbs. Hug the floss around your teeth and under your gumline. Be sure to get between all your teeth and around the far side of your back teeth.
▶︎ You use tobacco.
We shouldn’t have to tell you that smoking or using other tobacco products is bad for your health. That includes your gums.
The dental hygienists association reported that smoking half a pack of cigarettes daily makes you three times more likely to develop gum disease than a non-smoker. Not surprisingly, your risk gets higher the more you smoke.
Smokeless tobacco users should also take note. More than a quarter of you have signs of gum recession and bone loss, which are signs of advanced gum disease.
▶︎ You are a female going through a hormone change.
Like we said, some risk factors are not things you can control. If you are going through puberty, are pregnant, or are going through menopause, you are at a higher risk of gum disease.
We also know that no two women are the same, so this does not mean you will have gum disease at these stages in your life. It might be a good reminder to pay particular attention to your gum health at these times, however.
▶︎ You have diabetes.
This research is still ongoing, but scientists have found correlations between diabetes and gum disease.
Gum disease may one of the many complications that come with having diabetes. It’s also possible that gum disease makes it harder to control your blood sugar, which can make your diabetes more difficult to manage.
Get Treatment Soon
If you live in or near Plainville, CT and you suspect that you have gum disease, please make plans to visit our dentist office.
Gentle Dental Care offers a range of gum disease treatments. These include scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning under your gumline), antibiotics to reduce the risk for a recurring infection, and gum surgery for the most severe cases.
Keep your mouth healthy. Get checked for gum disease and get treatment if you need it as soon as possible. Call our office at 860-479-2397 or use our online form to make an appointment.