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So Many Myths About Gum Disease

There are many myths about gum disease. Some of them are harmful misunderstandings that, without having the right information, could lead to serious complications. If you thought gum disease was not common, think again—it is very common. Gum disease is caused by plaque that has not been removed from the gum line and forms into a harder substance like calculus or tartar. When it is untreated it causes an infection. Nearly half adults-age 30 and older suffer from some sort of gum disease. Brushing daily with fluoride toothpaste can help prevent buildup of plaque and help keep your gums healthy.

You might think that not having cavities means you are worry free from gum disease. While that is good news, it is still possible to have gum disease with healthy teeth. Gum disease is often silent, not causing pain.  If gums are red and swollen or bleed it could be the first sign of gingivitis—the first stage of gum disease—and with early treatment, it is the only stage that is reversible. Signs of gingivitis can usually be addressed with proper cleaning and good oral hygiene at home.

Some might think that having gum disease means you are going to lose your teeth. That is not the case. Good oral hygiene (brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and routine checkups with the dentist) can help ensure your gums stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet and taking care of your overall health will also help reverse damage caused by early forms of gum disease.

During pregnancy some women are more susceptible to “pregnancy gingivitis.” While some women experience bleeding gums it is not a common experience. Your dentist might suggest a more diligent routine of brushing and flossing as well as more frequent checkups during pregnancy. Any infection during pregnancy can affect the fetus. It is best to eat a healthy diet and have a good oral hygiene routine to prevent any long-term effects.

Bad breath doesn’t mean I have gum disease. It is true that most of us have experienced bad breath at some point. Chronic bad breath however, could be a sign of gum disease or other forms of oral disease. It is important to find the contributing cause of the bad breath. Your dentist may not be able to find an actual cause of bad breath in your mouth—it could be a different issue. Your dentist may refer you to your primary care provider.

Just because a person has diabetes does not mean they are guaranteed to have gum disease.  Severe gum disease can raise the blood sugar levels of the body, which in turn does impact and complicate diabetes. If you have diabetes or health issues it is essential to treat your mouth with serious care to help prevent secondary issues from mouth infection.

The reality is, when you know more you can do more. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by myths that could have a serious consequence on your health. If you have bad breath, swollen gums that are red and bleed, see your dentist as soon as possible. Early detection is the key to reversing the early stages of gum disease.