Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.
Below the American Dental Association addresses 6 myths about gum disease and how you can prevent it in your own mouth.
MYTH #1: Gum disease is not that common.
On the contrary, gum disease is extremely common, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which notes nearly half of adults over age 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can eventually harden into calculus or tartar.
MYTH #2: I don’t have any cavities so I can’t have gum disease.
Being cavity-free doesn’t ensure you are in the clear where gum disease is concerned. That’s because gum disease is painless and many people have no idea they have it. Gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen or tender is a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease and the only stage that is reversible. When caught early gingivitis can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at the dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.
MYTH #3: Having gum disease means I’m going to lose my teeth, right?
Not so! You don’t have to lose any of your teeth to gum disease if you practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, cleaning between your teeth daily, eating a healthy diet, and scheduling regular dental visits. Even if you are diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist can design a treatment plan to help you keep it under control.
MYTH #4: Bleeding gums during pregnancy is normal.
While it’s true that some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” it’s not true that everyone experiences this. You can help prevent this condition by taking extra care during your brushing and flossing routine. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.
MYTH #5: Everyone has bad breath sometimes. It doesn’t mean they have gum disease.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can be an indicator of gum disease and other oral diseases so it is important that you uncover what’s causing the problem. If constantly have bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems as your bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care physician.
MYTH #6: I have diabetes. Does that mean I will get gum disease?
Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes can also lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process. If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems, including gum disease, so it’s important that you are extra diligent with your oral health. Always brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly.
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