Although gum disease is terribly pervasive, it's also preventable. Conservative estimates report that up to 80% of people unknowingly have some amount of chronic gum disease.
At least 80% of the population has some degree of gum disease and most don't know it. Gum disease is responsible for up to 70% of adult tooth loss, and it does not give clear warning signs that an untrained eye would notice. A Periodontist must do a thorough and complete examination to detect it; especially in it's early stages. Gum disease is similar to high blood pressure, or heart disease, by the time the person who has it notices symptoms it is in its advanced stages.
Gum disease has been implicated as a causative factor in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature births, and low birth weight. It is an infection of the gums and jawbones. The bacteria, and chemical by-products of your body's attempt to fight the bacteria, can enter the bloodstream and cause serious problems in distant parts of the body. It is critical to have the teeth cleaned and a thorough examination a minimum of twice a year, and it is critical that you do a thorough job at home cleaning the teeth twice daily. The good news is that gum disease can be treated and prevented. Today there are numerous aids available to help us, which include special toothbrushes, toothpastes, rinses and even prescription medications can help. A periodontist can decide the appropriate treatment method only after examination of your condition.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth caused by bacteria. If left untreated, gum disease will gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Various disease entities require different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth from gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their lives. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by proper daily tooth brushing and flossing.
Periodontal disease and decay are caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line, and it constantly forms on teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
The bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums and may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed. Prolonged irritation can cause the gums to separate from teeth, which creates pockets (spaces) where the bacteria can spread rapidly. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to stroke, heart attack, and complications for diabetics and pregnant women.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best ways to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, some people still develop some form of periodontal disease. Once the disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent progression.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include: