According to data from recent studies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of American adults over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease, ranging from gingivitis (early stage) to periodontitis (advanced gum disease). Like many health problems, gum disease is preventable and reversible when caught and treated early.
As it progresses, it causes irreversible damage to your gums and the underlying bone and soft tissue that supports your teeth. Since oral and general health are linked, gum disease can also increase the risk of complications for people suffering from serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
At Manhasset Dental Arts, our dentists Dr. Elizabeth Abrams and Dr. Michael Abrams, and our team offer general and cosmetic dentistry services for the entire family at our office in Manhasset, New York.
Why you can’t afford to ignore gum disease
So you’ve probably heard that you should go to the dentist every six months for a checkup and professional dental cleaning, but if you haven’t been keeping up with that schedule you’re not alone. However, regular dental exams (along with good oral hygiene habits) are your first line of defense against gum disease, because you may not necessarily experience symptoms right away.
If you wait too long to get treatment, moderate to severe gum disease causes irreversible damage and can even result in tooth loss. While gum disease tends to be associated with old age and the risks do increase as you get older, even young adults are at risk.
Gum disease symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums (usually when you brush and floss)
- Red/tender gums
- Bad breath
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Signs of infection
- Changes to your bite/tooth alignment
That said, the symptoms may be subtle or not appear until your gum disease has advanced, so keeping up with your dental checkups and brushing and flossing every day are your best tools for preventing gum disease.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can be reversed when treated early. As gum disease progresses, it causes pockets to develop between the teeth and gums, which accumulate bacteria and lead to gum recession and the loss of bone and connective tissue. Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can result in tooth loss.
Doctors and scientists have also been studying possible links between oral and cardiovascular health for decades, and have found links between the bacteria that causes gum disease and cardiovascular health problems like stroke and artery disease.
Even if you haven’t been to the dentist in years, it’s never too late to get your oral health back on track and invest in a new and improved smile!
For more information about how to prevent and manage your risk of gum disease and other dental problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Manhasset, New York.