Gum Disease: More Common Than The Common Cold
Right now, as you are reading this, over 500 unique types of active micro-organisms are living in your mouth. When you figure that each species or kind may consist of 100,000 individual bacteria, you can understand why some dentists say that your mouth has more bacterial residents than there are people in the city of New York. And, just like New York City, they NEVER sleep. They only do two things: munch on food left in your teeth and make bacteria babies.
In reality, there is one more thing they do and that’s what causes all the problems. They excrete waste product. That bacteria excrement is toxic to your teeth and gums.
Gum disease is a result of plaque, the sticky film of bacteria waste that constantly builds up on your teeth. The bacteria’s waste (plaque) has chemical compounds that attack your teeth and your gum tissue.
Gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is very common in adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss. Research shows that over 75% of Americans age 35 and over have some form of gum disease as a result of medications, diet, or lack of adequate dental hygiene care.
Common symptoms of gum disease are:
- bleeding gums during brushing
- bright red color to gums
- sores on the gums
- red, puffy gums
- bad breath (halitosis)
With regular professional cleanings and a quality at-home oral hygiene routine, it is possible to remove the plaque and prevent gum disease. In addition, gum disease’s damages to teeth and gums are also amazingly simple to fix if caught early by our hygienists.
Our hygienists provide gentle, thorough cleanings that remove the plaque coating that at-home brushing misses. They also provide education and instruction on how to get the maximum benefit from brushing and flossing.
Recent studies have shown an association between gum disease and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight and diabetes. Because gum disease can have an adverse effect on your over-all health, Dr. Peck strongly suggests getting professional cleanings at least every six months.
Gum disease is oftentimes painless at the beginning, so you may not know you have it. Add to that the fact that gum disease is almost impossible for a patient to self-diagnose and it becomes obvious why you need to see us on a regular basis. At each checkup, Dr. Peck and a hygienist will take depth readings of the v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your teeth and gums to diagnose if you have gum disease.
Gum disease attacks just below the gum line in the sulcus, where it damages the supporting and connective tissues. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease. Eventually, pockets can become so deep that your tooth is no longer attached to your gums or jawbone. And, that’s when they fall out.