Expand your knowledge of gum disease with these surprising facts.
Gum disease is a very common oral health issue. Chances are your dentist has mentioned it to you during an appointment or you’ve seen commercials on TV for products that fight gingivitis. Although you probably know the basics of what gum disease is, you might be curious to learn more about it to protect your own periodontal health.
To help you get familiar with some lesser-known information about periodontal disease, we’ve gathered 7 important facts about gum disease everyone should know.
1. Gum disease affects about half of the adult population in the United States.
Most people know gum disease is a very common problem, but most don’t know the true extent of its prevalence. Statistics show that about 50% of adults over the age of 30 have mild, moderate, or advanced periodontitis—the most severe form of gum disease.
Although figures are estimated, many dental authorities believe closer to 80% of the U.S. adult population has some form of gum disease.
2. Gum disease isn’t age-related—even young children can have poor periodontal health.
The majority of periodontal disease stats focus on the adult population, but this doesn’t mean gum disease is only a problem for adults. Gum disease affects every age, even youngsters who are just getting their first set of pearly whites.
Periodontitis and severe gum disease aren’t so frequently seen in children, but chronic gingivitis is nearly as common as cavities. Just like cavities, parents can help prevent gingivitis by taking their kids to the dentist regularly, limiting sugar, and supervising brushing and flossing at home.
3. An impeccable oral hygiene routine isn’t always enough to prevent periodontal diseases.
A great at-home oral hygiene program and regular dental visits are crucial, but sometimes they aren’t enough to fully prevent gum disease. Certain lifestyle and health factors can make someone high-risk for developing gum disease, even if they have a flawless oral care regimen.
Common risk factors include tobacco use, alcoholism, diabetes, immune system disorders, medications, and even a genetic predisposition. That being said, how you care for your teeth and gums still has a significant impact, and if gum disease does occur, you’ll be able to heal from it much more easily.
4. The bad bacteria that cause gum disease can be spread to family and friends.
Gum disease being contagious is a myth, but there is some truth to the idea that the inflammation-causing bacteria is transmittable. The bacteria that cause inflammation and eventual infection behind gum disease can be spread through saliva. This means kissing and sharing eating utensils or food with someone that has an active gum disease infection can transfer the bacteria.
If you or a loved one has gum disease, it’s really important to get treatment right away and limit other family members’ exposure.
5. More than 50% of women develop gestational gum disease during pregnancy.
Expectant mothers are strongly encouraged to see their dentist often during pregnancy, just as they would the doctor. The numerous hormonal and lifestyle changes that occur during pregnancy greatly increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease. Gestational gum disease affects upwards of 75% of women, ranging from cases of temporary gingivitis to severe periodontitis.
There’s a strong correlation between moms with healthy teeth and gums, and babies who grow to have the same level of oral health as well! If you’re an expecting mom, consider that you’re “brushing for two,” so to speak.
6. Periodontal disease is responsible for more tooth loss in adults than untreated tooth decay.
When you think of tooth loss caused by an oral health problem, you’re probably assuming tooth decay is the culprit. It turns out that periodontal disease is actually responsible for the majority of tooth loss in adults, even more so than untreated cavities.
Thankfully, even if you’ve experienced significant permanent damage and tooth loss from gum disease, you can still get your smile back with restorative dentistry. Dental implants, implant-supported dentures, and bridges are all great options.
7. Heart disease and diabetes have a strong tie to chronic periodontitis.
Heart disease and diabetes are two very serious health conditions, and both have a connection to chronic periodontitis. The link between these health issues is somewhat of a chicken-and-egg situation, but what is clear is they exacerbate one another.
If you currently have heart disease or diabetes, it’s imperative to take preventive action against periodontal disease or seek swift treatment if you’ve already been diagnosed with some form of gum disease. Similarly, if you already have advanced periodontitis, seeking treatment right away will also lower your risks of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Find out about your periodontal health with a visit to Dr. Sexton’s office.
The best way to learn about periodontal disease and discover whether you may be at risk is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sexton.
To book your visit, give our office a call or fill out our handy online form. If you’re a new patient, take a moment to read the Your First Visit page to see what you can expect from your initial appointment with Dr. Sexton.