Our Decatur, Alabama dental office is a leader in treating patients with all dental complications and challenges. Dental challenges can be a major distraction in your life, and we’re here to make sure you can maintain a healthy, great-looking smile for years to come.
That’s why we are so concerned about gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. This oral health problem can quickly take over your mouth, and most people don’t know just how serious this disease can be.
At Charles F. Betts, Jr., D.M.D. Family Dentistry, we’re ready to work with you to restore your mouth. Give us a call today at 256-274-8680 to book your first visit. We think you’ll find our staff gentle, professional and dedicated to meeting your smile goals.
Today we want to share 5 facts you need to know about gum disease.
1. Gum disease is the number cause of tooth loss
It’s gum disease, not cavities or trauma, that claims more teeth than anything. The problem with gum disease is that it can creep up on you with little warning and spread quickly throughout the mouth. Gum disease is a disease that occurs whenever bacteria is present in the mouth. The bacteria can infect the gums and cause bleeding and inflammation. Those are the first signs of gum disease.
But serious gum disease can destroy the gums and bone that keeps the teeth in place. When a severe infection is present in the gums, it creates what we call a periodontal pocket and causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. So, it’s not uncommon for people with serious gum disease to struggle with loose teeth, and unfortunately, we can’t always save the teeth.
2. Gum disease is a widespread problem
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited that about 50 percent of adults in American 30 years or older have some form of gum disease. That means about 65 million Americans are walking around with an infection in their gums. Now, it’s safe to say that many of these people have no idea they even have a problem. And as you get older, the likelihood you’ll have gum disease increases.
The same study found that patients who are 65 have a gum disease prevalence rate of more than 70 percent. The reason for this could be simply because of age. As we get older, our mouths change and it’s also harder to fight off infection.
3. Gum disease is linked to serious illnesses.
Gum disease doesn’t just wreck your mouth; it may also be harmful to the rest of your body. The common link between these issues is inflammation. Gum disease is caused by inflammation of the gums, and any inflammation in the body can lead to the hardening of arteries, which consists blood flow in the body.
It’s important to note that there is no cause and effect relationship between gum disease and heart disease and gum disease and diabetes. But we do know that having gum disease can put you at a higher risk of other serious overall health problems like heart disease or diabetes.
4. Gum Disease Isn’t Always Curable
There are different levels of gum disease in terms of severity. Most people will mild to moderate gum disease will struggle with bleeding or swollen gums. With some proper care and gum maintenance, we can reverse this. But periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, isn’t curable. It’ll be with you for the rest of your life.
Whenever patients have periodontitis, we recommend that they visit the dentist about once every three to four months. During those visits, we’ll check the periodontal pockets to see how the gum infection
5. There are Non-surgical Options For Treating Gum Disease
Not too long away, there were only a few ways to correct gum disease. The dentist or periodontist — a specialist that deals with gum disease — would literally cut out the infection. This requires the use of scalpels and stitches, and the recovery period is often lengthy. We don’t use scalpels or stitches to treat your gum disease.
Our process, known as scaling and root planing, allow us to remove the tartar and plaque from beneath the gum line. And we’ll also treat the area with antibiotics to make it less likely for the infection to come back.
These are just five facts about gum disease. We hope you understand that gum disease can take control of your mouth rather quickly. But we’re here to help. You can give Charles F. Betts, Jr., D.M.D. Family Dentistry a call today at 256-274-8680 or use our online form to schedule an appointment.