Gum Disease: How to Minimize the Effects

The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 85% of Americans are affected by gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, in some form. This staggering number can be blamed on poor oral hygiene combined with the American diet and the sugar consumed on a daily basis. According to MedicineNet.com, Americans eat about 156 pounds of added sugar a year. About 29 pounds comes from traditional table sugar while the rest comes from the foods we eat, such as soda, junk food, candy and food additives like high fructose corn syrup.

It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms in order to catch its progression before it becomes irreversible. Gum disease, in its early stages, is quite treatable and even reversible if professional dental treatment is done and followed up with a maintenance plan.

What are the different stages of gum disease?

  • Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Affected gums become red, puffy and tend to bleed when brushing or flossing. Usually gingivitis is the result of poor oral hygiene. However, with professional treatments, such as scaling and root planing, gingivitis can be reversed.
  • Periodontitis occurs if gingivitis has gone untreated. At this stage, irritated gums start to separate from the teeth creating pockets of infection. Left untreated, these pockets become larger destroying more gum tissue and bone. Once this happens, teeth can become loose and risk falling out.

What are the risk factors for gum disease? 

  • diet
  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking
  • genetics
  • long periods between dental visits

The good news is that if caught in the early stages or even early on in the advanced stage, gum disease can be reversed. Since gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health related issues, such as heart and respiratory disease, stroke and diabetes, it’s important to get it under control as soon as possible.

What can be done to reverse gum disease?

During your next dental appointment, discuss your risks for gum disease and address any problems before tooth loss or other health issues develop. Gum disease can be prevented and reversed and, if addressed early on, can save you money in the long run on future dental bills.

Hawley Lane Dental will create an oral hygiene plan for you so that gum disease can be addressed and prevented. Please call us at (203) 377-9300 to schedule an appointment.