Did you know cavities aren’t the only culprit of tooth loss? Gum disease is also a leading cause of missing teeth. Not only can the preventable infection wreak havoc on your smile, but it is linked to many health problems, including cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about gum disease, which can cause it to go undetected until it results in significant complications. Here are the facts you need to know behind 4 common myths about gum disease.
Myth #1: Gum disease is rare.
Fact: Half of Americans have gum disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 50% of adults have gum disease. Although it’s more common among diabetics and smokers, anyone can develop gum disease, especially if you have poor oral hygiene habits. The risk of gum disease also increases during pregnancy because of hormonal changes.
Myth #2: Bleeding gums are normal.
Fact: Bleeding while brushing is a sign of gum disease.
If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth, you might attribute it to pushing too hard. However, red, swollen, and bleeding gums are early signs of gingivitis, a common type of gum disease. Although a little blood on your toothbrush may not seem concerning, untreated symptoms can progress to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.
Myth #3: Gum disease only affects your oral health.
Fact: Gum disease can lead to health problems.
Advanced gum disease can destroy the supporting structures of your teeth, including your jawbone. The infection may enter your bloodstream, wreaking havoc as it circulates throughout your body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic complications, and preterm delivery.
Myth #4: Gum disease isn’t curable.
Fact: Gum disease can be treated.
Gum disease can be cured. The sooner you receive treatment, the better. Your dentist will examine your mouth to determine the severity of the infection and recommend an appropriate treatment, like scaling and root planing.
Special dental instruments are used to remove plaque from below the gum line and smooth the root surfaces to stop the infection. Advanced cases of gum disease may require additional procedures, like gum grafting. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups to keep your gums healthy.
You can prevent gum disease from reoccurring by brushing, flossing, and using a daily mouthrinse. Don’t forget to visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. If you develop any signs of gum disease between your regular appointments, contact your dentist right away.
About Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury
Dr. Stansbury earned his dental degree at the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas and has regularly continued his education to treat the most complex oral health issues, like gum disease. Contact our office through our website or call (903) 508-4207 to schedule an appointment.