How much do you know about gum disease? Many patients think they’re educated on the condition, only to discover that they had been believing myths all along. Though this oral infection is common, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous, especially for those with underlying systemic conditions. Be sure to get your facts straight about gum disease to preserve the health of your smile and body.
Myth #1 – Gum disease only affects elderly people
While gum disease is more common among older generations, it can affect people of any age. Over 60 million Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Because this disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, seeking treatment from a dentist is critical to the long-term health of your smile.
Myth #2 – The symptoms of gum disease are obvious
Unfortunately, gum disease develops without noticeable symptoms or symptoms that often only a dentist would consider abnormal. By the time people are experiencing tender, bleeding gums, gum recession, and chronic bad breath, the disease has progressed considerably. It’s important to visit a dentist at the first sign that something is wrong, which is usually gums that bleed easily whenever you brush and floss.
Myth #3 – Brushing once a day will prevent gum disease
While brushing teeth is important for maintaining good oral hygiene, simply brushing once a day will most likely not prevent gum disease from developing. The infection and inflammation that characterizes gum disease is a result of bacterial plaque that has been left to harden onto the tooth surfaces below the gumline. Brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, visiting the dentist routinely, not smoking, eating a well-balanced diet, and other healthy habits all contribute to healthy gums.
Myth #4 – Gum disease only affects oral health
There’s a reason so many experts say the mouth is the gateway to the body. Oral infections like gum disease have been linked to systemic health, either aggravating or increasing the risk for problems like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. This is generally attributed to the chronic low-grade inflammation in the mouth and the spread of bacteria from gum disease throughout the body via the bloodstream. Visit your dentist at the first signs of gum disease to avoid serious complications.
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