Are Your Healthy Gums At Risk?

  • March 25, 2016

A healthy mouth needs more than just clean, healthy-looking teeth.

You also need to take care of your gums, but most Americans aren’t doing enough to prevent gum disease problems.

The American Dental Association has reported that only 4 in 10 American floss between their teeth every day. In case you were wondering, the ADA recommends flossing daily.

In other words, 6 in 10 Americans are not flossing daily, and in fact, the ADA noted that 2 in 10 Americans never floss.

This is just an invitation for periodontal disease to take hold in your mouth.

At Forever Young Dentistry, we prefer preventive care whenever possible. Brushing and flossing your teeth is something you and your family should be doing every single day.

You also should schedule routine cleanings at our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI, so we can monitor your gums for early signs of problems.

You May Have Gum Disease

Unfortunately, there is a pretty good chance that you have periodontal disease.

The American Dental Hygienists Association has pointed out that 80 percent of people have or will have gum disease during their lives, and the CDC has noted that close to half of American adults 30 and older have periodontitis, which is a form of advanced gum disease.

The signs of gums disease start with milder symptoms such as red and swollen gums. Your gums also may bleed when you are flossing or brushing your teeth. In many cases, this indicates that you have gingivitis, which is considered a mild form of periodontal disease.

Those symptoms could indicate that either you aren’t flossing correctly or you you aren’t flossing as often as you should. The good news is that you may be able to reverse the symptoms of gingivitis with better or more frequent flossing.

If you don’t take action to fight your gingivitis, you may develop periodontitis instead. This is a more serious form of gum disease that may require more than a cleaning at our office to treat.

The symptoms of periodontitis include:

◆ The symptoms of gingivitis

◆ Gums that feel sore or tender

◆ Gums that hurt when you eat or chew

◆ Gums that are receding (pulling away from your teeth)

◆ Teeth that feel loose in your mouth

◆ Lingering bad breath or bad taste in your mouth

Gum disease starts with the bacteria in your mouth. Brushing and flossing removes many bacteria. However, they regrow every day since this bacteria live inside your mouth.

In the latter stages of periodontitis, the disease will attack the supporting bones that keep your teeth in place. You teeth even might fall out if you don’t take steps to treat your condition.

Risk Factors

It should be clear that poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gum disease. As the ADA information shows, a majority of people are not doing what they should to take care of their gums.

If that isn’t enough to encourage you to start flossing daily, then you also may want to know some other factors that increase your risk of gum disease.

▶︎ Having Diabetes

Scientists and researchers have found clear correlations connecting diabetes and gum disease. The direct cause is not entirely clear, but there are a few working hypotheses.

One possible factor is dry mouth. Saliva makes it easier to remove the bacteria that cause gums disease from your mouth. When you have dry mouth, it’s easier for those bacteria to survive, and diabetics are more likely to experience dry mouth than other people.

On the flip side, gum disease adds to the problems that come with diabetes, too. Gum disease may make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels.

▶︎ Being Female

In particular, females who are experiencing hormone changes are more likely to have periodontal problems. This include puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

There are a couple reasons this may be the cause. First, hormones can affect the blood that reaches your gum tissue. Second, hormones may inhibit your body’s ability to fight the toxins that occur because of plaque buildup.

▶︎ Tobacco Use

We hope that most people are already aware that tobacco use is unhealthy. This definitely includes your oral health.

If you smoke half a pack of cigarettes per day, then you are three times more likely than a nonsmoker to develop gum disease, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association. That risk increases the more you smoke.

But you don’t have to smoke to feel the ill effects of tobacco. More than one quarter of smokeless tobacco users have signs of bone loss and gum recession. It’s worth reminding you that these are symptoms of periodontitis.

And to make matters worse, the damage done by tobacco products makes periodontal disease treatments less effective. You also are more likely to have recurring gum health issues because of tobacco use.

Watch For The Signs

Just like when you are driving, you need to pay attention to the signs when it comes to your oral health. Don’t take chances. If you have symptoms of gum disease, contact our dentist office if you live in Sterling Heights, Rochester Hills, or anywhere nearby.

You can make an appointment at Forever Young Dentistry by calling 586-698-7135 or by filling out our online form.