Everyone has heard about gum disease, but not everyone understands exactly what it is. To put it simply, gum/periodontal disease occurs when a buildup of plaque creates an infection in the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. Plaque is the sticky film made up of bacteria that forms on teeth and requires constant removal to keep teeth and gums healthy. Unfortunately, there are a few myths about gum disease that give patients the wrong impression about it, and this can lead to serious oral health problems.
Myth 1 – Gum disease is uncommon
This is a very harmful myth as it can result in people believing they’re safe from gum disease because it’s not very common. The truth is that gum disease is quite common and that over half of adults 30+ years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease.
Myth 2- No cavities equals no gum disease
A mouth without cavities can still have gum disease, despite what some people believe. Gum disease is often painless, which means a person may not know they have it. Signs of the earliest stage of gum disease called gingivitis include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. Gingivitis is the only reversible stage of gum disease as long as it’s caught early and treated with a professional dental cleaning with a follow-up of daily brushing and flossing.
Myth 3- Gum disease always results in tooth loss
Although advanced stages of gum disease that go untreated can result in tooth loss, when gum disease receives early treatment, tooth loss is preventable. Good oral hygiene including twice daily brushing, flossing, eating well and visiting the dentist regularly help prevent gum disease and make it easier to spot the early signs of the disease if it develops.
Myth 4 – Bleeding gums are normal during pregnancy
Although some pregnant women may experience bleeding gums during pregnancy, not all expecting mothers do. It’s possible to prevent and treat bleeding gums with proper brushing and flossing and more frequent dental cleanings.
Myth 5 – Having diabetes means having gum disease
Having diabetes can increase the risk of oral health issues such as gum disease, but that doesn’t mean that someone with diabetes will definitely develop gum disease. Someone with diabetes needs to be extra diligent with his or her oral hygiene and continue regular dental visits to avoid oral health problems that may complicate their diabetes.
Myth 6 – Bad breath is a definite sign of gum disease
Bad breath may indicate the presence of gum disease, but there are other causes of bad breath including a medical disorder. Chronic bad breath can indicate an oral health issue that may or may not relate to gum disease, and the only way to know is by visiting the dentist.
It’s possible to reduce your risk of developing oral health issues including gum disease with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Our experienced professionals at Dupont Dental are happy to dispel any myths about gum disease and answer your dental health questions.