If your opinion about gum disease is that it does not impact many people, then you should know that, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), estimates are that up to three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease today. This disease can take form as mild cases of gingivitis, to more severe cases known as periodontitis. However, despite this data, roughly only a small portion of people seek treatment from their dental professional for their gum disease.
This is a topic which I raise and discuss regularly with my patients, as it is also important to note that gum disease may be linked to several other health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer, so gum disease not only impacts your oral health, but should be looked at as potentially impacting your overall health.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important for people of all ages, and based on my interactions with patients and on commonly asked questions, I’ve identified and addressed below some common misconceptions about gum disease.
1. Gum disease is not common.
Gum disease affects half of all adults 30 and over. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Gum disease is a “silent” disease and is typically painless. At your biannual checkups, the dentist will screen for any signs and symptoms of gum disease.
2. Gum disease always leads to tooth loss.
With gum disease treatment and good hygiene, gum disease can be controlled. Your dentist will help design a plan for your long-term gum health.
3. It is normal for gums to bleed during pregnancy
While some women develop “pregnancy gingivitis” this condition can be controlled with increased hygiene at home. More frequent cleanings may be recommended by your dentist.
For additional information on gum disease, be sure to speak to your dentist about treatment options to maintain healthy gums and strong overall oral health, or visit mouthhealthy.org.