Did you know that 46% of adults have some form of gum disease? This infection, primarily affecting the gums, is a leading cause of tooth loss; however, despite its prevalence, it’s often overlooked as a serious health concern. Gum disease doesn’t only cause pain, bad breath, and tooth loss, but potentially even heart disease. To help raise awareness of the dangers of gum disease, we’re debunking some of the myths about gum disease, highlighting the importance of oral health in overall well-being, and demonstrating what our Lehigh Valley dentists can do for you.
Myth #1: Gum Disease isn’t a Serious Issue
Gum disease significantly impacts well-being, more than is commonly believed. It can cause inflammation, bleeding, and soreness, as well as gum recession and tooth loss. But your mouth is just the start. Some research has shown links between gum disease and jaw health, mental health, and heart health. For instance, some studies have shown that bacteria within your gums can enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation within the heart’s vessels and leading to infection. This same bacteria can also cause your blood sugar to rise, increasing your chances of developing type II diabetes.
Myth #2: Gum Disease is Only Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene
This is one of the most common myths about gum disease. While poor brushing and flossing habits are one of the leading causes of gum disease, they’re not the only cause. Sometimes genetics can also play a role. Since gum disease results from plaque and bacteria buildup, immunocompromised individuals may have a higher risk due to their body’s response to bacteria. Smoking or tobacco use can also increase your likelihood of gum disease, as well as pregnancy, stress, and diabetes.
Myth #3: Bleeding While Brushing is Normal
Seeing pink in the sink? Maybe you tell yourself you’re just brushing too hard. However, you should never bleed while brushing your teeth. This is an indication that there is something wrong with your gum health. A buildup of plaque will cause gum inflammation and bleeding. Too much plaque buildup can eventually lead to serious forms of gum disease. The best way to prevent this is to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Ensure you are using the proper technique with a quality toothbrush. Other tools like water flossers are available to help clean hard-to-reach places. If you do notice bleeding, please consult a dentist as soon as possible.
Myth #4: Gum Disease is Irreversible
Another one of the most common myths about gum disease. Early gum disease, like gingivitis, is quite manageable and even reversable, especially with the help of your Lehigh Valley dentist. For those with an infection in the gums, antibiotics can help fight the bacteria. Stubborn tartar and plaque can be removed from teeth and gum tissue through a dentist’s assistance.
However, what if your gum disease has progressed beyond gingivitis and into gum recession and tooth loss? While it is no longer curable, it is still manageable. If you’ve experienced gum loss, gum and bone graft treatments are available to help restore any lost tissue. In addition, missing teeth can be replaced with solutions like dental implants.
Addressing Gum Disease with Center Valley Dental
Gum disease is a significant health issue that requires attention and care. By debunking the myths about gum disease and understanding its implications on your overall health, we can all better appreciate the importance of oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Here are some key indications that you may have gum disease:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dark red, or purple gums
- Gums that feel tender when brushed
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath that won’t go away
The best defense against gum disease is to be proactive, brush twice a day, floss, and attend your regular dental appointments every six months. Oral care is not just about maintaining a healthy smile; it’s about preserving your overall health and quality of life.
If you think you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with our Center Valley Dental team. We can help you keep your smile happy and healthy. Request an appointment today.