It’s no laughing matter (pardon the pun!)
Gum disease – the official term is periodontal disease – is the leading cause of tooth loss.
And it’s prevalent in the community. In fact, the Department of Health states that 22.9 percent of Australians have moderate or several gum disease.
Here are some important facts you should know to keep your gums healthy.
Fact: Gum Disease is an Inflammatory Process
Gum disease is an inflammation in response to harmful bacteria in the mouth. It begins with a stage called gingivitis and may eventually progress to periodontitis.
Once it becomes chronic, it can be difficult to treat and may even require surgery.
Fact: Anyone Can Get Gum Disease
Although gum disease is more common in adults, people of any age can get gum disease. For example, pregnant women may be more susceptible to gingivitis due to hormonal changes and blood flow.
Children with poor oral hygiene can also develop gingivitis. However, gum disease takes a long time to develop, so older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
Fact: Gum Disease Causes Tooth Loss
Although everyone worries about cavities causing tooth loss, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.
This is particularly true if it advances to the stage of periodontitis. It can also cause the gums to pull away from teeth and destroy supporting gum tissue and bone.
Fact: Gum Disease Affects Your Overall Health
Inflammation is a factor in many chronic diseases. Research indicates that periodontal disease is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
It also increases the risk of systemic infections and sepsis – a severe generalised infection that can be life-threatening.
Fact: Treating Periodontal Disease Requires a Specialist
General dentists can provide you with basic dental care, which may help prevent gum disease. They may also be able to handle mild cases of gingivitis.
However, once the condition progresses to periodontitis, you should see a specialist called a periodontist. These dentists have additional training in the management and treatment of gum disease.
Fact: You Can Catch Gum Disease From Other People
Gum disease occurs as a result of an infection by specific bacteria. You can acquire those bacteria from other people through close contact. However, in addition to acquiring the bacteria, you must be susceptible to the disease because of your genetic heritage, smoking or other factors.
Gum disease can be treated, but it’s always best if the treatment is started as early as possible. If you have puffy, red, sore gums, you may be in the early stages.
But don’t worry unnecessarily. If you’re concerned about your gums, contact us. We love taking care of people.