Periodontal disease (periodontitis), also known as Gum Disease, has been known as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults for quite some time. Unfortunately, the damage isn’t limited to just the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of serious degenerative diseases, like heart disease. Dr. Roberts and his expert team at Adams Dental Group joins dental professionals and practices around the country each September to celebrate National Gum Care Month.

Almost half of Americans over age 30 have some form of periodontal disease. So even though your teeth are strong and healthy, you can lose them to gum disease without proper gum care. Now you know why gum care is SO IMORTANT!!

However, Gum Disease can be prevented! There are several ways you can avoid the beginning of gum disease. We want you to be on the lookout for these tell-tale signs so, we’ve gathered some interesting stats and information for you as well.


What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease starts with a sticky film of plaque bacteria that forms on your teeth, just like tooth decay. If plaque is not removed, it will collect around your gum line and cause your gums to become inflamed and irritated. This early stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis. The good news is that it can be reversed easily with consistent and thorough brushing and flossing.

However, if it is not removed regularly, this plaque will harden into tartar. Your gums become increasingly red, swollen, and inflamed as tartar builds up around the gum line and they will eventually pull away from the tooth, forming a loose pocket. As more bacteria and tarter accumulate in these “pockets”, the destructive toxins begin to infect and destroy the gums, bone and ligaments that support your teeth. This advanced phase of Gum Disease is called Periodontitis, or Periodontal Disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, because the gums can no longer hold your teeth in place.

 Related Article: What Does Oral Bacteria have to do with a Pretty Smile? 


Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

It’s important to be aware of the following symptoms of gum disease, as it can be painless:

  • Gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing
  • Swollen, tender or red gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Bad taste in mouth or consistent bad breath
  • Loss of teeth
  • Change the way your teeth come together
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Pus visible surrounding the teeth and gums
  • Sharp or dull pains when chewing foods
  • Overly sensitive teeth to cold or hot temperatures


Gum Disease Can Affect More Than Your Smile

Look Younger: Cosmetic

It’s a well-known fact that people with a healthy smile tend to look younger. However, Periodontitis affects much more than the aesthetic look of your pearly white smile and is important for more than cosmetic reasons.

Talk & Chew: Function

It’s also easy to understand that it’s easier to talk and chew when your teeth are functional and it’s less costly to keep all of your own teeth.

Healthy Body:

Gum disease is also a systemic disease that is related to the body’s reaction to bacteria that can have far-reaching effects on your overall health. By completely avoiding periodontal disease or treating it, you’re helping to protect your body from other systemic inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions. As well as, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and cancer.


Tooth Loss Stats:

Here are a few staggering statistics:

  • Missing 1 tooth: the average person age 20-39
  • Missing 3+ teeth: the average 40-49-year old
  • Missing 8 teeth: the average 60+ person

We know what you’re thinking … I had my 4 wisdom teeth pulled!! No wonder these numbers are so high!! Bad News: These statistics do NOT include wisdom teeth that have been removed AND this tooth loss is typically caused by gum disease.


Healthy Gums vs. Diseased Gums

Do you know what healthy gums look like? Gums should be firm and pink with no bleeding and no discomfort.

Signs of bad gums include:

  • loose or shifting teeth
  • gum tenderness
  • bleeding gums
  • chronic bad breath
  • bad taste in your mouth
  • redness, swelling, pus around teeth and gums
  • receding gums
  • If you have dentures, they may not fit correctly

Remember, it’s important to get treatment at the first sign of gum disease.


Gum Disease Risk Factors

Even though the leading cause of gum disease is bacteria from poor oral hygiene, factors like diabetes, osteoporosis, AIDS and other autoimmune diseases can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease or amplify the seriousness of existing gum disease. Hormonal changes in women (especially during pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives), heredity, and stress can contribute to gum disease, as can dry mouth from taking certain medications. Dental-related risks include defective fillings, crooked teeth, and improper fitting bridges. And if you need a reason to stop smoking, research says that not only is smoking associated with gum disease, it also interferes with successful treatment.

Related Article: Diabetes and Oral Health: Are High Blood Pressure and Diabetes Related to Your Oral Health?


Gum Care to Prevent Gum Disease

You can help take care of your gums by following these simple guidelines:

Healthy Brushing: Brush at least twice a day

Flossing Correctly: Floss at least once a day to remove debris between the teeth and near the gums. It is recommended you floss before brushing so your toothbrush can wipe away leftover bacteria and debris. Gently floss between each tooth, using clean sections of floss each time. Avoid snapping the floss down onto the gums.

Healthy Diet: Consume a regular diet of healthy foods and liquids. More sugar in your diet tends to lead to more lingering and sticky bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking other beverages.

Avoiding Substances: A great way to help your teeth and gums stay healthy is avoiding tobacco and limiting your alcohol intake. This includes smoking and vaping. Try to avoid drinking too much soda and energy beverages, candies, sugary snacks, and fast food.

Seeing Your Dentist: You should receive a dental exam and cleaning every six months if not more often. Notify your dentist if you have concerns about your teeth and gums or you are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Get treatment at the first signs of gum disease. Swollen, bleeding gums; pockets of pus; or gums that have pulled away from your teeth are the most dramatic signs of periodontal disease. Subtler changes, such as widening spaces between your teeth, and bridges or partial dentures that don’t fit as well as they once did, may also signal periodontitis.

Children’s Dental Health: If you have children, take this opportunity to review their dental care routines and emphasize the importance of daily tooth care.

Other Tips: Replace your toothbrush every two to three months, depending on the wear. Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and encourage saliva flow. Choose a toothpaste that is best for your dental needs.

Related Article: Why Do I Need to Have a Dental Exam Every 6 Months?


Gum Disease Treatment

If caught and treated early, gingivitis is completely reversible, and usually a professional cleaning and consistent oral care cures the problem. However, treatment will involve a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing when you have pocketing around the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will scale or scrap the tartar off your teeth and below the gum line, and then smooth any rough areas on the roots, so that bacteria cannot hide out and do more damage. The gum tissue should tighten and become healthy again if there is no bone loss.

But if you do have some bone loss, there are many surgical procedures your dentist can recommend stopping the disease process and save your teeth. Sometimes surgery is needed to clean out deep pockets and reshape the bone around the teeth, or tissue and bone grafting procedures can be done to allow bone and connective tissue to regenerate.


When almost half of Americans suffer some form of gum disease, why wait?

Now you understand why gum care and keeping your gums healthy is such an important task – they keep your teeth in place! AND you know what to do to help keep you and your smile in the best possible health and avoid Gum Disease.

If you have questions or concerns about your gum health, please give us a call, the expert team at the offices of Adams Dental Group will be happy to schedule your dental appointment and help you keep your gums, teeth and mouth healthy. Call 913-296-8030 to schedule your dental appointment or smile consultation.

Local dentist, Travis A. Roberts and his experienced, friendly team at Adams Dental Group offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Kansas City, KS area. We have two locations that are conveniently located and offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Adams Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at our West location (913) 296-8030 to schedule an appointment.

September 30th, 2020

Posted In: Periodontal | Gum Disease