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Advanced Gum Disease – A Shockingly Common Problem

Written by Courteney

Posted on June 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm


Astonishingly, nearly half of all Americans over 30 years of age have some form of advanced gum disease (periodontitis), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So what causes this progressive inflammatory gum disease? Who is at risk of getting it? How can it be prevented or treated?

Periodontitis Fast Facts

  • Periodontitis is a gum disease which is caused by a build up of bacteria (plaque) in and around the gums that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth (recession) which eventually exposes the roots of the teeth.
  • The infection, in its advanced stage, often affects the surrounding ligaments in the gums causing breakdown of tissues that support the gums as well as loss of tooth bone.
  • Because of this bone and gum loss, teeth become brittle and eventually start breaking off or falling out or need to be extracted surgically.
  • It can cause mouth infections that spread up through the face as well causing immense pain and suffering, often leading to all teeth having to be surgically removed.
  • Most people often don’t realize they have gum disease until it reaches advanced stages when symptoms become much more obvious. Unfortunately, by then damage is already underway.
  • Some symptoms or “warning signs” of gum disease include: red, tender or swollen gums, mouth or jaw pain, gum bleeding while eating, brushing or flossing, receding gums, loose teeth or bad breath.
  • Excess plaque that builds up around and under the gums is the leading cause of gum disease.
  • In women, periodontitis may be more likely to occur during times when hormones such as progesterone cause increase blood circulation such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
  • According to the CDC, 70% of senior Americans over aged 65 have periodontitis.
  • Smokers are at significantly higher risk of developing gum disease than non-smokers as tobacco has been cited as a trigger of gum disease.
  • A genetic component has been established for gum disease. Some people may still be at increased risk of developing gum disease despite excellent oral care routines.
  • Stress may contribute to periodontitis because the body cannot easily fight off infection when it is under constant duress.
  • Other risk factors may include: obesity, pre-existing illnesses such as autoimmune problems, or long-term use of certain medications such as anti-depressants or birth control pills.
  • Gingivitis is the all-too-common precursor to periodontitis. It is the first stage of gum disease, if left untreated or oral hygiene is not stepped up, gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontitis, which can lead to tooth or teeth loss.
  • Advanced gum disease has been linked to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of arthritis.
  • Many people believe daily flossing to be overkill and unnecessary, but they are wrong. Daily flossing is one of the best preventative measures as it helps get rid of bacteria build up (plaque) on the teeth that may eventually lead to gum disease.
  • Regular cleanings and checkups are also of utmost importance in preventing or catching gum disease in its early stages so it can hopefully be reversed.
  • You should brush your teeth with a soft or extra soft toothbrush in a circular motion so as not to further aggravate the gums. Aggressive brushing often contributes to gum recession over time.
  • Treatment for gum disease depends on the stage of the disease. You cannot undo gum recession that has already happened, but there are surgical procedures to re-cushion the gums as well as other options.
  • Sometimes dentists can do tooth implants for teeth that have been lost to gum disease, in early stages, they may use special tools to deep clean the gums, and in advanced cases teeth may have to be removed, and dentures can be fitted that look very realistic.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay tuned for our next post on natural remedies and preventative measures to take against gum recession and disease.

 

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