Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It is nothing short of infamous. Here’s why: First of all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a three-year-old study called “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010” found that about half of American adults suffer from gum disease. The study’s researchers estimated that about 47.2 percent or 64.7 million American adults suffer from periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of periodontal disease.
Setting aside the pervasiveness of periodontal disease, it is also particularly threatening because it tends to be a silent and undetected attacker, since it’s usually a painless affliction until the disease starts becoming more catastrophic to the mouth.
Periodontal disease is a degenerative condition and a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. Eventually, if it’s left untreated, periodontal disease leads to tooth loss.
When plaque gathers and remains on the teeth, it hardens into tartar or calculus. The bacteria found in plaque inflame and infect the gums, and unless these problems are properly treated, this oral predicament can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.
In its early stages, gum disease begins as gingivitis, which is a relatively mild form of periodontal disease that manifests as inflammation and redness of the gum tissue. Many people who have gingivitis aren’t even aware of it. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene.
But if gingivitis goes untreated for long enough, it escalates into a much more serious type of gum infection called periodontitis, as mentioned above. Periodontitis begins to destroy the soft tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis is well known for causing tooth loss, but it is also to be a culprit for increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other considerable health problems.
The treatment for periodontal disease can vary, depending on the needs of the particular patient. But some common approaches for addressing periodontal disease are additional dental cleanings, antibiotic treatments, improved at-home oral hygiene practices, deep cleanings (more formerly known as scaling and root planing) and gum surgery.
So, we want you to know that there’s hope for your oral health here at Smiles Dental. We specialize in battling and treating periodontal disease. And we want to encourage you to reduce your chance of developing periodontitis by brushing your teeth at least twice a day — for two minutes each brushing session, with fluoride toothpaste — and by flossing once daily. Be sure to come and see us for your regularly scheduled dental exams and cleanings, and we’ll take good care of you.