It’s likely you’ve never heard of Gum Disease Awareness Month before. Like gum disease itself, it doesn’t make major headlines or get a lot of social media attention. That’s unfortunate, given how common gum disease is – and how millions of cases go untreated every year. Not only that, but gum disease may have links to other health conditions. All that to say, healthy gums are possible with a knowledgeable Cincinnati, OH general dentist.
Gum Disease Is Like a Sneak Attack on Your Oral Health
So, you may have heard of gum disease before, or periodontal disease, as we dentists call it. It’s caused by bacteria buildup on and under your gums. Risk factors include improper dental care (at home or lack of visiting the dentist), tobacco use, certain medications and health conditions, and even genetics. About 1 in 2 adults will get it at some point, which is why we feel it’s important to make our patients aware.
Regardless of the reason you may have gum disease, the symptoms start out unnoticeable or barely noticeable. Initially, they can be so minor that you write them off as unimportant or just a regular part of life. Here are a few signs of gum disease:
- Red gums
- Tender gums
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums (especially when brushing or flossing)
- Teeth that look longer than they used to
- Gums that look like they’re pulling away from your teeth
- Discomfort, sensitivity, or pain in gums when eating
- Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
- Teeth that become loose
- A bite that’s changed (the way your teeth fit together, which you notice more when you eat)
Unless you’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing too hard, any of these are reason enough to visit Bell Dental Group and find out what’s going on. You can be sure that if you have gum disease, we’ll catch it and start you on an appropriate treatment immediately.
Treat Gingivitis & Periodontitis ASAP
Early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, can often be reversed with better home hygiene and biannual dental cleanings at our office. The sooner you come in, the greater chance you can eradicate this disease for good.
Advanced gum disease is a different story, though. Periodontitis, as we call it, goes beyond inflammation of the gums, which is what gingivitis is. After so long, your gums may become infected. As your body tries to fight the infection, it can begin to affect your jawbone. That collateral damage, so to speak, means your jawbone can’t support your teeth as well. That can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.
Advanced gum disease is a chronic condition, but it’s one we can help you manage successfully. With our training in periodontal care, we can get your gums healthy again, in most cases, right here in our office. We offer a wide range of care to fit your specific case:
- Deep cleanings
- Perio Protect® local antibiotic
- Gum disease surgery
- Recommendations for gum care products you can use at home
Get the Facts on the Oral-Systemic Connection
Having unhealthy gums can lead to receding gums and even tooth loss in more extreme cases. But we should tell you that there may be more at stake than your oral health. You see, your mouth is connected to the rest of your body and can sometimes affect your entire body. That’s what we call the oral-systemic connection. Knowing that, it’s not surprising that advanced gum disease has been linked to several health conditions, including:
- Heart attack
- Certain cancers
- Heart infections
- Respiratory illnesses
- Alzheimer’s disease
Inflammation may be the culprit in some of these connections. Bacteria may be a factor, too. Although researchers aren’t entirely sure whether these diseases are caused or worsened by gum disease, or vice versa, just knowing that there’s some kind of link is a good enough reason for us to help you keep healthy gums.
Visit a Dental Team Who Can Help
We don’t mean to scare you with any of this information. We simply want to let you know that gum disease is sneaky and can have serious consequences if left untreated. We also want you to know that there is hope. Even if you’re embarrassed by how far you’ve let your oral health decline, we can help. We will not judge you or lecture you. We simply want you to get to a place where you feel confident in your smile’s health and appearance. We will customize your care just for you, as no two cases are ever the same. And we’ll give you the best tips and advice to ensure you can keep the disease at bay.
Don’t become another statistic. Protect your oral health and your beautiful smile. Call Bell Dental Group in Cincinnati, OH now at 513-802-9440 or fill out our online form to get healthy gums again. And now that you know a little more about this condition, we invite you to take our gum disease quiz if you didn’t get a chance last month.