About eighty percent of all Americans have some sort of periodontal gum disease (source: American Dental Hygienists’ Association). Mostly seen in adults, the percentage of those with the disease increase as age increases. Here are a few interesting facts regarding Gum Disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The condition is more common in men than women
- 65.4% of people living below the poverty level have gum disease
- 66.9% of people with less than a high school level education have gum disease
- 64.2% of smokers have gum disease
It is also 100% preventable, so why do so many U.S. adults live with it? The sad truth is that the one of the primary reasons that people have gum disease is lack of motivation for home care. This is not the case for everyone; other reasons include genetics (hereditary), health related issues like diabetes, AIDS, or even hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Some reasons are self-inflicted. Smoking, stress, and poor oral hygiene are examples of these. While many hereditary or health causes cannot be prevented, the self-inflicted reasons can and should be reversed.
Gingivitis is the most common form of periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis are swollen, red gums that can bleed. If not treated, this can lead to periodontitis that includes bone loss and even loss of teeth. There are warning signs that can let you know if your gums are unhealthy. First and foremost, check the color. Healthy gums are generally a nice pink color. If your gums are red and or swollen, you are displaying a warning sign of gum disease. Other signs include bad breath, painful chewing, sensitive teeth, bleeding gums when you brush and/or floss, or gums pulling away from your teeth.
Treating Gum Disease
As established earlier, one of the primary reasons for gum disease is lack of oral hygiene care. This should not be the case, but sadly many do not take proper care of their teeth and gums. The good news is that in the early stages of periodontal disease, the condition is reversible and treatable. The best way to prevent or reverse gum disease are two simple solutions.
- Brush AND Floss twice a day
- Get cleanings at your local dentist twice a year (or more as recommended)
Pretty simple, right? If you practice these two simple steps, your dental health has a great chance of being the best it can be. If you have more questions about your dental health, or think that you might have periodontal disease, make sure to schedule a visit to talk with your dentist today.