Are You At Risk For Gum Disease?
One in five Americans never floss.
Six in 10 Americans do not floss daily.
These statistics are from a recent survey by the American Dental Association. This is the same ADA that recommends flossing every single day.
Knowing this, it makes sense that 80 percent of Americans will develop some form of gum disease, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association.
We see patients at Hubbard & Leath Dental every day who show symptoms of periodontal disease. Our dentists want you and all our patients in and around Rochester Hills, MI to understand what you may be risking if you don’t take care of your gums as well as you teeth.
Brushing and flossing every day are essential to maintaining your oral health. When you brush and floss, you aren’t just removing food particles. You are removing bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
And since theses bacteria lives inside your mouth, you must make a daily effort to remove as much as you can.
Along with that, we want you to visit our dentist office at least twice a year so we can examine your teeth and gums and give you a professional dental cleaning.
When you come to our office, we check for signs of gum disease, such as red, swollen gums that bleed easily. These symptoms indicate that you have gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that, thankfully, can be treated and reversed.
If you notice these symptoms at home, you should take them a warning signs. Your problems could get much worse if you don’t improve your daily dental hygiene routine.
When Trouble Has Arrived
Untreated gingivitis can become a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis.
If you notice the symptoms of periodontitis, you need to make an appointment with Hubbard & Leath Dental right away. We can’t reverse the damage done by periodontitis, but we can remove the infection to prevent further trouble.
The symptoms of periodontitis are harder to ignore:
◼︎ Gums that are sore or tender
◼︎ Gums that bleed more easily than before
◼︎ Gum recession (gums that pull away from your teeth)
◼︎ Gums that hurt when you eat
◼︎ Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
◼︎ Teeth that feel loose
◼︎ Pus leaking from your gums
Additional Risk Factors
Poor oral hygiene may be the biggest risk factor for developing gum disease. It’s one of the risk factors you can control, which is why it’s so important to most dentists that our patients floss every single day.
With that in mind, here are some other factors that can contribute to your periodontal disease:
▶︎ Tobacco Use
From a health standpoint, and from a dental perspective in particular, there is no benefit to using tobacco.
If you smoke, chew, dip, or know someone who does, then you know how tobacco can stain your teeth and make your breath smell awful. You may not realize how bad it can be for your gums, however.
The dental hygienists association put together a short paper on the impact of tobacco on your gums, and let’s say, it’s bad.
Smoking less than half a pack of cigarettes each day makes you three times more likely to develop gum disease. Smoking a pack and a half increases your risk six-fold. Smokeless tobacco users aren’t really any better off since 27 percent of them show signs of gum recession and bone loss, which we will remind you are signs of periodontitis.
▶︎ Being A Diabetic
Diabetes can be more complicated that oral hygiene or tobacco use. Genetics play a role in diabetes development, but that’s not the whole story. Our decisions about diet and exercise all affect whether we develop this condition.
Regardless of the reason, having diabetes also means you are more likely to develop gum disease. The reason for the connection between these two diseases has not yet fully determined.
Some scientists have pointed out that people with diabetes are more likely to have dry mouth. Since saliva plays a role in removing bacteria from your mouth, some have suggested that a dry mouth could create more opportunities for the bacteria that cause gum disease.
▶︎ Being A Female
This is a little trickier. It’s not being a female in and of itself; it’s more specific to being a female going through hormonal changes — such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
This is not really something you can control. However, if you are aware of your increased risk for gum disease during these times, then you may be more conscientious about flossing, too.
▶︎ Family History
Periodontal disease is more common in some families than others. Genetics can make you more prone to gum problems.
Knowing your family history can make you more vigilant about your oral care.
Knowing your risk factors for gum disease is one thing. Doing something about it is another. We encourage you to be proactive in practicing preventive dental care.
Brush, floss, and visit our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI for routine cleanings and examinations.