While most Americans are familiar with the term “gingivitis,” many are shocked to hear that gingivitis is actually the first stage of gum disease. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a serious medical condition. Just like many Americans every year get heart disease, if they don’t exercise and watch what they eat, millions of Americans are diagnosed with gum disease each year for failing to take proper care of their teeth and gums.
Causes of gum disease in dental patients
The #1 cause of periodontal disease in dental patients is failure to properly take care of their teeth and gums.
– Proper oral hygiene should be observed at all times. This means brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, preferably after meals. These habits are preventative hygiene for your teeth and gums, and are the best way to fight against the early stages of gum disease and keep your mouth healthy.
– Visit your dentist routinely. Bi-annual teeth cleanings will take care of any gaps in hygiene patients miss through regular brushing and flossing. Routine dental exams will also help your dentist spot any symptoms or early signs of gum disease, and make treating the disease and a return to normal health much easier and quicker.
Family history with gum disease can come into play and may be a contributing factor. However, patients with a predisposition should be aware of this, and take extra care with their dental hygiene and routine dental visits.
What happens when gum disease goes untreated?
While bacteria and the resulting inflammation are the first signs of gum disease in patients, if left untreated, many patients end up losing one or multiple teeth. Because our gum tissues hold our teeth in place, if bacteria and inflammation erode the surrounding gums, there will be nothing left to keep our teeth in place.
The early stages of gum disease can be treated, but it progress to the later stages, many of the symptoms can only be managed- and preventing the loss of teeth may not be possible. Gum disease, especially in its early stages, can come about painlessly, which is possibly why so many patients aren’t aware that they have it, or that it is a very serious condition.
Gum disease is like many of the major disease that currently affect Americans today, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. While there are extraneous factors like genetic predisposition, these diseases progress because patients do not take proper care of their bodies and health. It’s the same with periodontal disease, where patients find themselves in the midst of expensive, painful and inconvenient treatments when simply cultivating the habit of brushing and flossing for 2 minutes twice a day would have prevented all of it.
Contact Dr. Colin Richman & Dr. Andrea Abelman in Roswell, GA to schedule your next cleaning and dental exam. Don’t wait before it’s too late!
Signs and Symptoms of Advanced Dental Disease Including Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Chronic disease anywhere in the body is insidious, thus advanced symptoms may only appear late after significant damage has occurred.
Warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease include:
- Redness, tenderness, pain, swollen gums
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or biting into an apple
- Insufficient long term flossing over a lifetime
- Receding gums, frequently described ‘getting long in the tooth’
- Teeth moving or shifting
- Loose teeth
- Appliances no longer fit comfortably
- Previous history of tooth loss including parents
- History of smoking, diabetes or other metabolic diseases