Nearly half of American adults over the age of 30 experience some form of gum disease. By age 65, that number jumps to 70%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Gum disease has several stages, ranging from mild (gingivitis) to advanced periodontitis. As it progresses and becomes more severe, gum disease causes permanent damage to the underlying tissue and bones that support your teeth and gums, increasing your risk of tooth loss and other oral and general health problems.
The good news is that when caught and treated early enough, gingivitis is usually reversible and doesn’t cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Our dentists Dr. Elizabeth Abrams, Dr. Michael Abrams, and our dental team offer a range of family and emergency dentistry services at Manhasset Dental Arts in Manhasset, New York.
Gingivitis is reversible—up to a point. If you catch and treat gingivitis early enough, you can most likely avoid permanent damage to your teeth and gums, and prevent it from progressing to the next stage.
The stages of gum disease include:
Once gingivitis progresses to mild and moderate periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away and form pockets where bacteria can accumulate. As it advances, periodontitis can lead to bone loss, infection, and ultimately tooth loss.
While the effects of advanced periodontitis can’t be reversed, there are a number of treatment options available like pinhole gum grafting to repair your gums.
The most common and well known symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums when you brush and floss. Your gums may also appear red and swollen, and you may notice that you have unexplained bad breath.
Good oral hygiene is your best defense against gingivitis. Brush your teeth after meals, and floss every day to prevent plaque and tartar buildup in between dental appointments.
In addition to brushing and flossing, going to the dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning is vital to protect your teeth and gums from oral health problems like cavities and gum disease.
Even with a rigorous oral hygiene routine and healthy diet, dental exams and cleanings are necessary to pick up where your toothbrush and floss leave off. Your dentist can also pick up on problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Smoking and using tobacco products can also increase your risk of gum disease and make it more difficult to treat, along with increasing your risk of serious health issues.
People with a family history of gum disease may also be more susceptible to developing it too.
If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning, or if you have developed any new symptoms since your last appointment, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
To learn more about gum disease and what you can do to lower your risk, contact Manhasset Dental Arts today to schedule an appointment at our office in Manhasset, New York.