The #1 cause of tooth loss in the United States is gum disease, with over 75 percent of American adults exhibiting some form of periodontal disease. In fact, it’s one of the most common diseases worldwide.
What Is Gum Disease?
An inflammatory condition, gum disease affects the tissues surrounding your teeth and is caused by plaque that has accumulated around the teeth and gums. The bacteria in the plaque can irritate and inflame the gums, sometimes causing bleeding.
Gingivitis is usually the first stage and presents itself through gum swelling and bleeding. Periodontitis – bone loss – follows, but not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.
Causes of Gum Disease
There are many possible causes of gum disease, including hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause, smoking, medications that cause dry mouth, or illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. However, plaque still remains the main cause of gum disease. Poor oral hygiene and neglecting to brush and floss regularly are certainly factors that can lead to gum disease.
About 30 percent of people are genetically susceptible to gum disease; they are simply unlucky enough to belong to a family that has notoriously bad gums, which means the chances of developing gingivitis and periodontitis are higher. Age can also increase your chances of developing gum disease. While gum inflammation is relatively common, not all people who suffer with gum inflammation will develop periodontitis.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is preventable. Keeping up with preventive care to ensure that bacteria and plaque are being professionally and thoroughly removed from your teeth is one key to maintaining good oral health.
While it’s possible for gum disease to progress painlessly and without obvious signs, it’s important to be aware of the typical symptoms of gum disease that may point to some form of the condition: bleeding gums; swollen, red, or tender gums; bad breath; receding gums; loose teeth; deep pockets between teeth and gums; an itchy feeling in the gums; and dark triangles or spaces between teeth.
Be Courageous About Your Oral Health
Unfortunately, many people neglect their oral health to the point where the pain and discomfort are so bad it’s affecting their overall well-being and daily life. Many people stay away from the dentist out of embarrassment or even fear. Know this: There’s nothing we haven’t see already at our Philadelphia dental office, and it is our job to take care of your oral health, no matter what condition it’s in.
We aim for prevention and diagnosis when it comes to gum disease, and we treat your condition thoroughly over several visits and a series of follow-up visits. At that point, we can evaluate the condition of your smile and determine what type of cosmetic dentistry might be necessary. Contact Dr. Ken Cirka today to schedule your free first visit.