We are starting with a disclaimer: Although we are focused on three groups of people in today’s post, everyone should be concerned about gum disease.
Gum disease can affect anyone and everyone, regardless of age or gender.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported that nearly half of all American adults 30 and older have some form of periodontitis. When you include gingivitis, it makes sense why the American Dental Hygienists Association reports that around 8 in 10 adults will have some form of gum disease during their lives. Keep in mind that hygienists are the people who usually clean your teeth, including at our dentist office in Reading, MA.
Following the American Dental Association guidelines will go a long way toward preventing gum disease. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular professional cleanings like we offer at First Dental Associates.
Now, with all that in mind, we want to call attention to three factors that can raise your risk of gum disease.
Gum Disease And Diabetes
If you or someone you know has diabetes, then you are already aware that this can affect your overall health in many ways. One of them is that diabetes can leave your more likely to develop gum problems.
The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, but researchers have some ideas. One hypothesis is that people with diabetes may be more susceptible to dry mouth, and dry mouth is good for the bacteria that cause gum disease.
It’s also important to note that having gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels. This suggests that having periodontal disease can worsen the effects of your diabetes, too.
Please seek treatment at the first sign that you may be developing gum disease.
Gum Disease And Pregnancy
Statistically, males are more likely to develop gum disease than females. Even so, females face a higher risk of gum disease during times when they are going through hormone changes. This includes puberty and menopause, but we want to pay particular attention to pregnancy today.
During pregnancy, your body produces hormones that are beneficial to your baby as he or she develops. Unfortunately, these hormones also are beneficial to the bacteria that cause gum disease.
Studies also have shown that women with periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease) are more likely to give birth to babies with a low birth-weight (less than 5.5 pounds) or to babies who a premature.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, don’t forget the importance of your oral health during this time in your life.
Gum Disease And Tobacco Use
From a dental standpoint, using tobacco is one of the worst things you can do for your oral health. Smoking and using smokeless tobacco both significantly increase your risk of gum disease.
And if you are vaping, that may not be any better. Initial research suggests that e-cigarettes can harm your gum tissue, too.
In addition to making you more likely to develop gum problems, tobacco use can make treatment more difficult, and tobacco users are more likely to have recurring gum disease, too.
To put it simply, if you are a tobacco user, quitting is one of the best things you could do for your oral health. If you don’t use tobacco, please don’t start.
Gum Disease: What To Watch For
Knowing what to watch for can help you seek treatment when gum disease is in its earliest stages. This is when treatments are more effective and less invasive.
Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease, although it can lead to more serious problems if you let it go. Healthy gums look pink and feel firm to the touch. If you have gingivitis, your gums may begin to look redder than usual, or they may appear swollen.
Bleeding gums are another clue that your gums may be infected. If you bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, this is a sign that something is wrong. Often, this occurs when people don’t floss as often as they should. By flossing daily, you may notice the bleeding stops.
If your gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, you may notice that your gums bleed more easily and may even feel sore or tender. In advanced cases, your gums will begin to recede, and your teeth may feel loose or fall out.
If you do notice any signs of gum disease, please call 781-435-7290 or contact First Dental Associates online. We want to help you treat this problem as early as possible.