Gum disease sounds scary, and there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Let’s take a moment to dispel some of the more common myths.
Myth #1: Don’t Worry About Gum Disease, it is a Rare Condition
Not True. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place, and it’s actually quite common. More than half of all adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that isn’t removed by daily oral care. Left unchecked, plaque eventually hardens into tartar. However, regular professional cleanings can remove build-up and support healthy gums.
Myth #2: If You Don’t Have Cavities, You Don’t Have Gum Disease
False. If you have no cavities, this doesn’t necessarily mean you also don’t have some level of periodontal disease. For many people, periodontal disease is painless and asymptomatic, so you don’t know you have it.
The earliest stage is gingivitis, and the symptoms are red, swollen, or tender gums. At that point the condition is reversible. When you see your dentist regularly, they can catch the early signs and correct the problem with professional cleanings followed by a strict oral care routine.
Myth #3: Gum Disease Means You Will Lose Your Teeth
Not necessarily. Even if you are diagnosed, you can keep your teeth. Your dentist will work with you to create a treatment plan that includes a good oral care routine, healthy diet, and regular follow-ups for professional teeth cleanings to monitor your condition.
Myth #4: It’s Normal for Gums to Bleed During Pregnancy
Not really. While some women develop gingivitis related to their pregnancy, it doesn’t happen to everyone, and it’s manageable. It’s extremely important for pregnant women to see their dentist during pregnancy to maintain a healthy smile.
Myth #5: Diabetics All Develop Gum Disease
False. Though diabetes can put you at greater risk for other health conditions, it doesn’t mean you are doomed. If you are diabetic, it’s extra critical that you adopt and maintain a diligent oral care routine, including regular visits with your dentist.
Myth #6: If You Always Have Bad Breath, You Must Have Gum Disease
Not necessarily. Persistent bad breath may indicate another oral condition. It can also be related to other underlying medical conditions, so it’s important to see your dentist if you’re concerned. If your dentist says your mouth is healthy, they will refer you to your family doctor for further evaluation.
Protect Your Gums for a Healthier Smile
Knowing the signs is the first step in preventing damage to your gums, especially if you have underlying conditions that put you at greater risk. Periodontal disease is a preventable condition, provided you catch it early enough.
If you’re concerned about gum disease or have more questions, we are here for you. Find the Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics office nearest you and make an appointment online.