Gum disease is much more common than you might think. Despite better awareness and treatment options than in the past, almost half of all American adults over age 30 experience some form of gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By age 65, the number jumps to 70%. While the number might sound daunting and make it seem like gum disease is inevitable, the truth is that there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and lower your risk as you get older.
At Manhasset Dental Arts, our dentists Dr. Elizabeth Abrams and Dr. Michael Abrams offer general and cosmetic dentistry services for the whole family at our office in Manhasset, New York.
Everything you didn’t know about gum disease
Just like with your general health, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your oral health. The more you know about how gum disease works and your risk for developing it, the more proactive you can be with your oral health plan.
1. Gum disease can be reversed — up to a point
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which causes swelling and inflammation of the gums. The most common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth.
When caught and treated early enough, gingivitis can be reversed. If gingivitis progresses, it can cause permanent damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth and gums. Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can ultimately result in tooth loss if left untreated.
2. Gum disease isn’t just for seniors
As the CDC’s statistics show, gum disease can happen to young people too. To lower your risk, practice good oral hygiene and schedule an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning every six months.
3. Gum disease runs in the family
If someone in your family has gum disease, you could have a higher risk of developing it too.
4. Lifestyle and other health factors can also lead to gum disease
Smoking and using tobacco products are bad for your general and oral health as well. Smoking is also a risk factor for gum disease and can make treating oral health problems more difficult.
Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can also increase the risk of gum disease, as well as taking certain medications.
A poor diet can also increase your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
5. Gum disease can harm more than just your teeth and gums
The bacteria that cause gum disease is believed to be linked to other health problems like heart disease and stroke.
If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam or you’re experiencing symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal disease, come see us as soon as possible.
To learn more about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact Manhasset Dental Arts to schedule an appointment at our office in Manhasset, New York.