According to the American Academy of Periodontology, more than half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease whether it is gingivitis or the more serious periodontal disease.
Based on findings back in September of 2012, one out of two adults in the United States aged thirty and above had some form of gum disease. In fact, recent estimates put 64.7 million adults in the US having mild, moderate, or severe periodontal disease. In adults over 65, the rate increases to a whopping 70.1 percent.
Your dentist will tell you that gum disease can be prevented if you practice good oral hygiene, watch what you eat and drink, stop smoking and visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are both chronic and inflammatory diseases that affect the tissue of the gums, and even worse, the bone that supports your teeth. If left to its own devices, periodontal disease will eventually lead to tooth loss. Recent research has also indicated that gum disease could be associated with other inflammatory chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
According to your dentist, gum disease can be reversed, but needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible to avoid tooth loss.
Some signs that you may have one of the three stages of gum disease, either gingivitis, periodontitis or advanced periodontitis include,
Bleeding gums after brushing and flossing
Red, puffy, tender, or swollen gums
Longer-looking teeth because of gum recession
Changes to your bite
A bad taste in your mouth
Chronic bad breath
You can treat the early stages of gingivitis with proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice and flossing once each day, and watching what you eat and drink. Practicing good oral health will also help prevent plaque buildup. Ask your dentist about ADA approved mouth rinses that can help reverse the affects of gum disease.
Regular professional cleanings by your dentist is the only way that plaque can be removed. If the plaque has developed into tartar, your dentist or dental hygienist may have to perform a deep cleaning known as scaling and planing to help smooth the roots of the teeth. This also makes it more difficult for the plaque to deposit under the gum line.
If you suspect you may have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist who may be able to help reverse the early stages of gingivitis.