Estimates by the CDC state that one out of every two people 30 years of age or older has periodontitis, the most advanced stage of gum disease. In addition, the American Academy of Periodontology estimates that 75 percent of all U.S. residents have some form of gum disease. This equates to millions of people, yet only three percent receive treatment for gum disease.
These numbers are frightening. Adding to the issue is the number of mistaken beliefs regarding gum disease. Many people simply do not realize that gum disease can lead to certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hormonal changes (puberty), poor nutrition, and pregnancy complications.
Poor Oral Care is Not the Only Cause of Gum Disease
Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is not enough to stave off gum disease. Gum disease is also linked to cigarettes, genetics, nutrition, personal habits, prescription medications, and stress. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist for yearly checkups to make sure that the early stage of gum disease is not present. If gum disease is suspected, a trip to a periodontist is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.
There are Different Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease happens in stages. At the earliest level, gingivitis sets in. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort, so you really don’t even know you have an issue. At this point, oral home care and professional treatments at a periodontist can help reverse the disease.
If you ignore gingivitis, it progresses into periodontitis. At this point, the plaque grows below the gum line, and the bacteria in the plaque cause irritation. This causes the gum tissue and bone to break down as it fights the bacteria. Gums pull away from the teeth and cause pockets of infection. Eventually, the teeth loosen. You won’t likely notice anything until the teeth loosen.
You Don’t Have to Be Older to Have Gum Disease
It is true that 7 out of 10 men and women aged 65 or older have the highest rates of periodontal disease, but a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill dental study found 25 percent of men and women in their 20s also had one of the stages of gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease are Often Overlooked
In the early stages, gum disease does not have many noticeable warning signs. As the disease progresses, you might notice your gums become red and swollen. They often bleed easily, especially after brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods. Bad breath, gums pulling away from the teeth, mouth sores, pus coming from the teeth and gums, a change in the way dentures or teeth fit together, and loose teeth are other symptoms.
Tooth Loss Doesn’t Have to Be Permanent
When a tooth is lost to periodontal disease, dental implants provide a permanent replacement tooth. With a dental implant, an artificial root is embedded in the jawbone. Once the bone bonds with the artificial root, an artificial tooth is secured to the top of the root. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, dental implants have a success rate of 98 percent.
Visit the American Academy of Periodontology to learn more about the different gum disease treatments available today. At Gallardo & Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry in Miami, Florida, dental patients have non-surgical and surgical options available. Call (305) 447-1447 to learn more about getting stress-free treatments for gum disease.