Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by an infection from dental plaque that hardens and turns into calculus (tartar) and can’t be removed at home. This condition is preventable through proper oral care, and treatable by our periodontist.
How much do you know about periodontal disease? Here are some of the top gum disease myths and facts.
MYTH: If you don’t have tooth decay, you won’t get gum disease.
FACT: Many people with no decay may indeed have gum disease and not realize it immediately. Gums that bleed or swell, or are red or tender, may be facing the earliest stage: gingivitis. Make sure to see your dentist for a professional cleaning, and brush and floss daily to prevent infection.
MYTH: Bad breath is a sure sign of gum disease.
FACT: While halitosis can be an indicator of gum disease, it can also be linked to poor brushing habits, diet, an ulcer, or another medical condition. If professional dental intervention and good at-home oral care don’t clear up your sour breath, see your primary care physician to investigate medical causes.
MYTH: Gum disease will cause you to lose your teeth.
FACT: You do not have to lose any of your teeth to neglect if you see your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene at home: Brush, floss, and clean between your teeth every day. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of plain water. If your gums show signs of disease, our periodontist can create a treatment plan for you.
FACT: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of adults 30 and older have some degree of periodontal disease. It can form at nearly any age and intensifies over time. Never put off a visit if you suspect a gum problem.
MYTH: Pregnancy and bleeding gums go hand in hand.
FACT: “Pregnancy gingivitis” develops in some women, but it is not a universal condition. It is caused by the bacterial film that grows on the teeth and results in a buildup of plaque. Those who suffer from this problem usually experience it in their first trimester. If you are pregnant or considering parenthood in the near future, you can help prevent gum disease by taking good care of your oral health. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent examinations and cleanings.
For more information on periodontal disease and how to prevent it, call our Alexandria, VA dental office or ask your general dentist for a referral.