Periodontal disease– more commonly known as gum disease– is one of the most common oral health concerns adults face today. When detected and treated early, gum disease is entirely reversible. When left to progress, however, gum disease can develop into periodontitis and ultimately result in tooth loss. Unfortunately, many people don’t seek treatment when their gum disease is in its earliest stage, known as gingivitis. While there are many reasons that people might delay or avoid treatment, a common reason is that they simply lack an understanding of what periodontal disease is and how it impacts their oral health. In order to gain a better understanding of this common dental concern, let’s dispel some of the most widespread myths related to gum disease:
Myth 1: I don’t have cavities, so I don’t have gum disease.
If your mouth is cavity-free, that means your gums are in the clear too, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Gum disease– which is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth– can occur even when the teeth are otherwise healthy. Thus, it’s important to visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and check-ups.
Myth 2: It’s normal for my gums to bleed while I’m brushing my teeth.
Healthy gums do not bleed during brushing. If your gums are bleeding while you’re brushing your teeth or flossing, your body is trying to send you a message. You’re likely suffering from periodontal disease, which needs prompt treatment before it progresses. Additionally, it’s a common misconception that it’s normal for gums to bleed during pregnancy. While it’s true that some pregnant women suffer from pregnancy gingivitis, it’s still a condition that needs to be treated by a dentist.
Myth 3: Tooth loss is inevitable with gum disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, you should prepare yourself for dentures or dental implants, right? Maybe, but not always. Whether or not tooth loss is inevitable depends on how far your gum disease has progressed. When caught in its earliest stage– known as gingivitis– gum disease is reversible, usually with a deep cleaning at the dentist’s office. When not detected and treated early, gum disease can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis wreaks havoc on the gums and possibly even the jawbone, so tooth loss is much more likely. The bottom line is this: if you suspect that you have periodontal disease, see your dentist right away.
Myth 4: Poor oral hygiene is the sole cause of gum disease.
It’s no secret that people who don’t brush and floss regularly are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Unfortunately, though, even those with excellent oral hygiene aren’t necessarily in the clear. That’s because poor oral hygiene isn’t the only culprit behind gum disease. Some other risk factors include: genetics, tobacco use, pregnancy, and having diabetes.
Myth 5: Gum disease is uncommon.
If you think gum disease is a rare condition that probably won’t happen to you, you better think again. In fact, it’s been estimated that half of adults over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. So, take note: if your gums are red and inflamed or if they bleed when you brush your teeth, it’s time to see the dentist. If your gums are currently in good condition, work hard to keep them that way. Because gum disease is caused by plaque build-up, daily brushing and flossing go a long way towards prevention.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from periodontal disease, it’s time to pay a visit to your dentist’s office. Remember: the earlier you seek treatment, the better your outcome. Contact us today to learn more.