Facts You Didn’t Know About Gum Disease

Also known as periodontitis, gum disease is a condition that sounds self-descriptive but often is somewhat of a mystery to the average person. Contrary to the ambiguous name, gum disease does not encompass all conditions that affect the gums; rather, it is a bacterial infection of the gums and the bone beneath them.

To help clarify the signs, symptoms, and seriousness of gum disease, we’ve put together this handy collection of facts you probably don’t know about gum disease.

It Leads to Tooth Loss

Your teeth are anchored to the bone beneath them. When this bone is damaged or lost, the teeth that are rooted to it may fall out.

Gum disease is known for creating irritation and inflammation in the gums, which often leads to space developing between your teeth and gums. When this occurs, the likelihood of damage to that integral bone anchor is vastly increased, causing your teeth to be lost.

The Symptoms can be Easy to Overlook

With the dire outcomes associated with gum disease, you may think that the symptoms are equally as concerning. The truth is, the signs of gum disease can be quite subtle and easy to overlook, allowing the disease to progress unfettered.

For example, tender, swollen gums can be a sign of gum disease but can also be a result of a myriad of other causes. Even bad breath or loose teeth can be written off as something less frightening than gum disease. As such, it’s important to take all changes to your oral health seriously and visit a dentist even if you’re tempted to write them off as happenstance or paranoia.

Other Illnesses are Linked to Gum Disease

Don’t get us wrong—gum disease is something that should be taken very seriously on its own. However, studies have linked periodontitis to other illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In other words, it’s vital to address your oral health concerns as soon as possible and to take the steps to maintain healthy gums. The overall wellbeing of your body will thank you.

It can be Prevented

Unlike certain other health conditions that seemingly strike at random, gum disease can be prevented. While it rarely happens overnight, gum disease is typically the result of poor dental hygiene.

This sounds simple and easy to avoid, and in many ways, it is. However, doing so requires comprehensive and consistent oral hygiene habits, including everything from brushing and flossing to lifestyle and nutrition. For a more in-depth discussion on the factors within your control that can help prevent gum disease, we recommend you sit down with your dentist.

Whether you are concerned by certain changes you’ve noticed to your teeth and gums, want to be extra thorough, or simply want to learn more about gum disease, visiting your dentist is one of the best ways to set yourself—and your mouth—up for success.

Not only do regular dental visits ensure your oral health is in good shape, but they also keep you up to date on any changes that may be occurring. For example, your dentist likely keeps a record of your gum measurements and can alert you if they have receded.

Your dentist can also discuss your current oral health routines with you, work with you to develop a personalized hygiene plan, and educate you on the specific gum disease risk factors you may have, further allowing you to nip them in the bud.