According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every two American adults over the age of 30 has gum disease. If you are one of these millions of Americans, you may have noticed your gums bleed when brushing. This is a common symptom of gum disease and a sign that you should see a dentist in Suwanee right away. If left untreated, gum disease can worsen over time and eventually lead to tooth loss! The good news is that gum disease is preventable and even treatable when caught in the early stages. Below are more common symptoms of gum disease – and tips on how to prevent it.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues in the mouth and the bone supporting the teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which can build up on teeth and harden over time. Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus around the gumline
Gum Disease: More than an Oral Health Problem
While gum disease is a serious oral health problem, it can also lead to problems elsewhere in your body.
For example, recent research has found that the main bacterium involved in gum disease may invade and inflame the regions of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain.
Gum disease has also been linked to the following health issues:
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Fortunately, the way to prevent gum disease is fairly straightforward. To keep your teeth and gums clean and prevent gum disease, be sure to:
- Brush twice daily for a full two minutes each time
- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash
- Avoid tobacco products
As recommended by the American Dental Association, visiting a dentist every six months for a routine checkup is also very important. During each routine dental exam, your dentist:
- Checks for signs of gum disease such as inflammation
- Measures the depth of the pockets around the teeth
- Removes harmful plaque and tartar from your teeth
- Discusses the risk factors that can contribute to gum disease (e.g., smoking)
Healthy gums are a key part of a healthy mouth and body. Talk to your dentist in Suwanee right away if you have swollen gums or any of the other symptoms described above.
About the Author
A native Georgian, Dr. Katherine Lee is dedicated to helping the men and women in her home state achieve and maintain healthy smiles. She is an active member of the Georgia Dental Association and takes various continuing education courses each year to stay on top of the latest developments in dental medicine. Patients old and new can contact Dr. Lee at the Dentistry at Suwanee website or by calling 678-381-2875.