According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults in the United States over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a very prevalent oral health condition that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. In its early stages, gum disease may cause mild symptoms such as redness and swelling of the gums. As it progresses, it can cause more severe symptoms such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. If gum disease goes untreated, it can also lead to serious consequences outside your mouth, including heart disease, stroke, premature birth and other health conditions.
At the office of Dr. Wayne Suway, we want our patients to take gum disease seriously. Beyond understanding how gum disease develops and how to prevent it, we also want patients to know their risk factors for this common dental health condition. Knowing you are at high risk for periodontal disease can help you (and your dentist) take a more proactive approach to protecting your gum health.
What Causes Gum Disease to Develop?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacterial infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth. The primary cause of gum disease is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums.
Plaque can accumulate on teeth and gums if proper oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, are not followed regularly. Over time, plaque can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning at our Marietta office.
The bacteria in plaque and tartar can cause inflammation of the gums, which is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which involves the breakdown of the bone and connective tissue supporting the teeth.
If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s essential to call Dr. Suway for diagnosis and treatment. The earlier gum disease is detected, the easier it is to treat and prevent further damage to the gums and teeth.
Are You at Risk for Periodontal Disease?
While anyone can develop gum disease, certain individuals may be at higher risk. Here are some factors that can increase your personal risk of developing gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene: Failing to brush and floss regularly can allow plaque to accumulate on teeth and gums, increasing the risk of gum disease.
- Smoking and tobacco use: Smoking can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections like gum disease. Tobacco use can also cause plaque to accumulate more quickly and lead to dry mouth, which can increase the risk of gum disease.
- Age: The risk of gum disease increases with age. Older adults may be more likely to have gum disease due to the cumulative effects of poor oral hygiene and other risk factors over time.
- Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make gums more sensitive and increase the risk of gum disease.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes may be more susceptible to infections, including gum disease.
- Certain medications: Some medications can reduce the flow of saliva, leading to dry mouth, which can increase the risk of gum disease. Other medications may cause gum overgrowth, making it easier for plaque to accumulate.
If you have any of these risk factors, we want to develop a specific treatment plan for you at the office of Dr. Wayne Suway. You may need to see us on a more regular basis for professional cleanings and checkups. A couple extra dental visits per year can go a long way in saving you from the disruptive consequences of gum disease, which includes bad breath, systemic health problems, receding gums and tooth loss!
Schedule a Check-Up for Your Gums Today!
Call Dr. Suway today to learn about the health of your gums. We can easily reverse early signs of gum disease, but our team is also qualified and equipped to treat advanced stages of gum disease when needed.