Valentine’s Day. The Oscars. The Super Bowl. Gum Disease Awareness Month.
We all know the big events that come around every February. But we bet you didn’t know about Gum Disease Awareness Month! Unfortunately, it’s not in every social media post or news article. In fact, that’s why there’s a month dedicated to it – not many people are aware of gum disease or the dangers of not having healthy gums. But with about half of adults getting some form of gum disease, we think it’s too important not to address.
So that’s what we’ve devoted this blog to. Read on below to find some surprising facts about this dangerous disease. Then call us at 859-223-2120 to make an appointment if anything here relates to you or a loved one. We can get and keep your gums healthy.
Gum Disease Comes by Stealth
Sure, you’ve heard of gum disease. But do you really know that much about it, or even if you have it? Chances are that you don’t because it’s such a sneaky disease. Here’s what we mean by that. Gum disease is caused by bacteria building up on and underneath your gums. It starts with barely noticeable symptoms, if noticeable at all, at least to anyone who’s not a dental professional. Common symptoms of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, include:
- Red gums, not pink
- Swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums, particularly when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- A little discomfort or tenderness when eating or drinking
All those signs can be written off as normal. After all, most people tell us they didn’t worry when they saw a little blood on their toothbrush. And after a while, it just became normal. But it’s not. So it’s important to see us if you have any of these signs. The good news is, early stage gum disease is reversible with proper care. We can usually perform a dental cleaning and help you know how to take care of your gums at home.
Gum Disease Can Go Beyond Your Gums
Now, gum disease may never move past gingivitis, which is inflammation of your gums. But there’s no way to know if it will or won’t if you don’t see a professional. If it does progress, you may be dealing with periodontitis, infection of your gums. This stage of gum disease is chronic and ranges from mild to advanced. You might notice some of the same symptoms as gingivitis, so you may not know your body is now fighting an infection. Here are some other symptoms associated with periodontitis:
- Receding gums
- Longer-looking teeth
- Notches on your teeth near your gums
- Pockets in your gums
- Pain in your gums
- Loose teeth
- Changes in your bite, with either your natural teeth or dentures
As your body fights the infection, it can start attacking your jawbone too. Of course, your bone supports your teeth, so with unhealthy gums and bones, you start to lose the vital support your teeth need. That’s why periodontal disease is responsible for more tooth loss than even cavities.
Gum Disease & the Oral-Systemic Connection
We said gum disease is deadly. You know it can cause tooth loss, but there may be more at stake. Researchers have found several connections to many systemic diseases, which is why dentists use the term “oral-systemic connection.” Here are a few revealed so far:
- Heart attacks
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Respiratory disease
- Heart infections
There’s no definitive proof that gum disease can cause any of these, and vice versa. But with any link at all, we think it’s best to treat you for gum disease and make sure you always have healthy gums.
Gum Disease Therapy Can Treat Any Stage of Periodontal Disease
At every exam in our office, we look for signs of gum disease. You don’t have to worry that we’ll miss it. With trained dentists, proven techniques like gum measurements, and the help of technology, we can provide an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment for your situation. With advanced gum disease, we can even use our panoramic X-rays or 3D X-rays to see your jaw and teeth with extreme precision.
Here are a few treatments we may recommend:
- Dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, with comfortable ultrasonic scalers
- Scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning, to get bacteria under the gums and on tooth roots
- Laser gum therapy for a quicker, more comfortable alternative to traditional gum disease techniques
- The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique, a gum surgery alternative with no bleeding or sutures
- Oral surgery such as tooth extraction, bone grafting, and dental implants for advanced cases
Few Lexington general dentists can do all this under one roof. We simply have taken the time and effort to ensure our patients can get the healthiest smile possible in the most comfortable, convenient way possible. Speaking of comfort, we can perform any procedures with sedation to keep you completely relaxed. And you can rest assured that we won’t lecture you – we’ll just help you get to a better place with your oral health and smile.
Don’t Wait – Preserve Your Smile Today
We don’t share all this information to scare you. The fact is, many people just don’t know about it. If we can make any difference in the way your smile feels, and the way you feel about your smile, then that’s our goal. And if doing so can improve your overall health – even better!
It’s not too late.