You may have heard of periodontics, but how much do you know about periodontal disease (also known as gum disease)? A qualified Dallas periodontist can help you understand the disease and give you tools on how to prevent and manage the condition.
At Lakewood Dental Group, our team of qualified specialists in Dallas, TX, takes great pride in helping patients treat and avoid gum disease with periodontal and preventive services. As a result, our patients get a healthier mouth for a healthier, brighter smile.
Here, Dr. Mihir Patel and Dr. Shaun Sigurdson will explore 11 facts about gum disease that you probably never knew before. But, don’t wait until you’re finished reading this article to schedule your appointment with a qualified Dallas periodontist. Request your appointment now by calling our team at (214) 827-1885 or by sending us a secure message online.
What is gum disease?
First, it’s important to understand what periodontal disease is. Gum disease is an inflammatory condition in which oral bacteria and dental plaque irritate sensitive gum tissue. The disease is progressive and, if left untreated, will lead to significant oral health issues, such as:
- Tooth and gum infections
- Tooth loss
- Jaw bone recession
Periodontal disease has far-reaching effects on both oral and systemic health, which is why it’s important to educate yourself with a qualified Dallas periodontist. So, join our team as we explore these little-known facts about gum disease.
Did you know…?
Understanding gum disease is the first step to preventing and managing the condition. So, let’s dive into some interesting and shocking facts about gum disease.
1. Gum Disease Has Four Stages
Periodontal disease progresses in four stages:
- Stage 1: The beginning stage is known as gingivitis.
- Stage 2: Also called ‘slight periodontal disease,’ this is the stage where the infection in the gums extends toward the jawbone.
- Stage 3: At this stage, a Dallas periodontist would consider the disease ‘moderate,’ as it will begin to affect both the oral and overall health of the patient.
- Stage 4: This is the most advanced stage of the disease. It is characterized by a rapid loss of bone density in the jaw, as well as significant tooth loss.
2. Gingivitis Is Reversible
The initial stage of periodontal disease (gingivitis) is completely reversible. However, the signs and symptoms of gingivitis aren’t always easy to detect. Nevertheless, there are some indicators that you might be developing gingivitis, such as:
- Blood while brushing or flossing
- Red or swollen gums
- Increased gum and tooth sensitivity
If you or a loved one notices any of these subtle signs, then schedule an appointment with a Dallas periodontist immediately. The sooner patients treat gingivitis, the more likely they are to reverse the condition and save their oral health.
3. Gum Disease Is Very Common
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 have gum disease. And because the disease is progressive, it will only get worse with time. As a result, approximately 70% of adults aged 65 and older have some form of the disease.
4. Children Can Get Periodontal Disease
Although periodontal disease predominantly affects adults, children can develop the disease, too. According to one study, almost 3% of children have chronic gum disease, which may lead to prematurely losing their permanent teeth in their early adulthood.
5. Gum Disease Is Genetic
Experts believe that some patients may have a genetic predisposition for developing periodontal disease. If you have a history of chronic gum disease in your family, it’s highly likely that you will develop the condition at some point in your life. Luckily, preventive procedures (like regular dental exams and cleanings) can help you avoid the devastating symptoms of gum disease.
6. …And It’s Contagious
Not only is gum disease hereditary, but it is also contagious. When we share food, drinks, and kisses, we tend to swap saliva, which can harbor harmful, disease-causing bacteria. As a result, it’s possible to develop periodontal disease in an otherwise healthy mouth.
7. You Can Have Gum Disease and No Cavities
Many patients assume that if they don’t have cavities, then they can’t possibly have gum disease. However, this simply isn’t true. It’s relatively common for patients without cavities to develop periodontal disease. So, even if you don’t see or feel any issues, it’s important to visit a Dallas periodontist regularly to assess the health of your teeth and gums.
8. Periodontal Disease Can Lead to Serious Illnesses
Any Dallas periodontist worth their salt will try to encourage patients to treat gum disease as quickly as possible. Otherwise, patients may be placing themselves at increased risk of developing life-threatening conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory infections
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Neurological disorders
9. Chronic Bad Breath Might Indicate Gum Disease
Bad breath that doesn’t go away with brushing or flossing might indicate something serious, like advancing gum disease. This is due to the overgrowth of bad bacteria caused by the condition. If you experience stubborn bad breath frequently, then contact one of our Dallas periodontists immediately.
10. Probiotics Can Keep Periodontal Disease at Bay
Our mouths are teeming with both good and bad bacteria (nearly 6 billion of them!). These bacteria make up an intricate oral microbiome that can either help or hinder our overall health.
Probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha, help good oral bacteria flourish, which keeps gum disease-causing bacteria under control. In fact, a 2021 study concluded that probiotics are an invaluable tool in treating gum disease alongside other periodontal solutions (like scaling and root planing).
11. Brushing and Flossing May Not Be Enough
Even with proper daily brushing and flossing, it is still possible to develop periodontal disease. The only way to truly prevent or manage the disease is to schedule regular appointments with one of our Dallas periodontists every six months. Our team can thoroughly clean your teeth, which will help deter disease-causing bacteria and plaque from building up on the teeth.
Schedule Your Appointment with a Dallas Periodontist Today
Many dentists call gum disease a ‘silent disease’ because most patients don’t know that they have it until it’s too late. So, don’t delay–schedule an appointment with a qualified Dallas periodontist today.
Patients can contact our team by calling (214) 827-1885 or by requesting an appointment online here.