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The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease

April 24, 2017 | Written by: admin | category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Gum disease poses a much bigger oral health threat than many people assume. What may start out as inflammation or tenderness can quickly contribute to bone loss and tooth decay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease) pose the biggest threat to oral health today.In fact, gum disease impacts nearly half of adults above the age of 30 and more than 70 percent of people over the age of 65.

Knowing the symptoms and prevention methods along with regular visits to your dentist will help you avoid or treat periodontitis before it gets out of control.

Knowing the Warning Signs

Gum disease develops over time and becomes more severe the longer symptoms go unaddressed. Let’s take a look at how this issue develops.

Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease typically caused by inflammation of the gums as a result of plaque. Symptoms include:

Red, swollen gums
Bleeding gums during brushing of flossing
Bad breath

Periodontitis: When gingivitis goes untreated, it will eventually develop into periodontitis. This happens when a pocket begins to form under the gums below the gum line. The result is plaque being trapped that can irritate the gums and even cause bone loss and tooth decay. At this stage, it’s important to seek the treatment of a dentist.

Advanced Periodontitis: This is an advanced stage of gum disease that can cause serious damage and pain to teeth, tissue and bone. At this phase, teeth can shift and become loose, even fall out. A few other symptoms include:

Gums receding severely
Deep periodontal pockets
Chronic bad breath
Gums swell and bleed
Advanced tooth decay

Who is Most at Risk for Gum Disease

Age is one factor to consider if you think you may be at risk of developing gum disease. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 47 percent of adults aged 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

Adults over the age of 65 experience more advanced stages of gum disease, and at a higher rate. The CDC reports 70 percent of adults aged 65 and over suffer from periodontal disease.

Men are also more likely to experience gum disease than women at a rate of 56 percent to 38 percent.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Smoking: Tobacco use greatly increases the likelihood of periodontal disease. It is estimated that more than 64 percent of adult smokers have some degree of periodontal disease.

Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene is a leading cause of periodontal disease. Good habits and regular visits to the dentist will help prevent the onset of gum disease.

Bad Diet: Poor nutritional habits are a leading contributor to gum disease. Foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates and caffeine should be minimized.

Medications: Certain medications can contribute to periodontitis. Talk to your doctor and dentist about any medications you are taking. If your prescriptions cause dry mouth, you could be at risk for gum disease.

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention: Good oral hygiene is the best defense against gum disease. Maintain a healthy diet and see your dentist twice a year for checkups and regular cleaning.

Treatment: Speak with your dentist about treatment options for periodontal disease. Laser therapy is becoming a popular option because of the reduced irritation and faster healing times.


If you are showing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. Treatment will be shorter and less painful if addressed early and can help you avoid further complications such a bone and tooth loss.

Check out our infographic below and learn more about gum disease.

Know about Gum Disease

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