Gum disease is the No. 1 oral health problem in the United States. It’s such a common condition that if you’re over the age of 30, there’s a good chance you have it.
But what exactly is gum disease? What are the signs? And why is it so common?
J. Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, and Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, at Arcadia Perio are here to answer all your questions. We specialize in diagnosing and treating all the stages of gum disease. If you’re ready to learn more about gum disease, you’ve come to the right place.
All about gum disease
Gum disease has two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. It’s also called periodontal disease, and it's the single most common oral disease among adults of every age.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, a mild gum infection. Gingivitis starts when a sticky film of bacteria called plaque builds up on your teeth. Everyone has plaque, but brushing and flossing your teeth helps remove it.
If you don’t remove plaque, it hardens into tartar and begins to irritate your gum tissue. Bacteria infects the tissue, making it inflamed and tender, and gingivitis develops.
Gingivitis is treatable, and the damage it causes is reversible. But untreated gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the second and more severe stage of gum disease.
Periodontitis is a serious infection that erodes gums. Over time, it may even lead to bone deterioration and tooth loss.
Why gum disease is so common
Gum disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. Improper brushing and flossing leads to bacteria buildup, infection, and decay.
Gum disease is so common because people don’t maintain strong oral hygiene habits and they skip routine dental checkups. Some other health conditions can increase your risk of gum disease too. Your risk may be higher if you smoke, have diabetes, or have other oral health issues.
The good news is that gum disease is preventable and treatable, and our team at Arcadia Perio can help.
Avoiding gum disease and its complications starts with practicing good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss your teeth at least once a day.
Along with at-home care, go to the dentist regularly for dental cleanings and exams. Learn to recognize the early warning signs of gum disease, so you can get care before the disease progresses.
When to get a periodontal exam
Adults should get comprehensive dental cleanings at least once a year. Talk to your dentist to find out if you could benefit from more frequent visits.
At routine dental appointments, the hygienist cleans your teeth and looks for signs of gum disease. You can learn some common warning signs too. Schedule a periodontist appointment if you notice symptoms like:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Sensitive teeth
- Swollen, tender gums
- Receding gums
- Pain with chewing
These symptoms could indicate gingivitis or periodontitis, and we offer comprehensive exams to diagnose your condition. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, we may recommend periodontal treatment like LANAP laser dentistry, tissue grafting, or other regenerative therapies.
Gum disease is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Book an appointment at Arcadia Perio in Arcadia, California, to get a customized treatment plan for your oral health. Call us at 626-662-1084 or schedule an appointment online now.