If you’re like most people in Farmington, NM, going to the dentist is not one of your favorite things to do. But it’s important to stay on top of dental check-ups not only for your teeth but also for your gums.
Gum disease often starts with no symptoms, so people are unaware they even have it. By the time they start suffering from the symptoms of gum disease, it has already taken hold and treatment is more difficult. Gum disease in its early stage, called gingivitis, will lead to more severe gum disease, periodontitis, if it is left untreated.
Gum disease will not go away if it is ignored; it will simply grow worse.
Gum Disease and Other Health Issues
And the bad news doesn’t stop there. Gum disease has been linked to more serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that nearly half of all Americans have gum disease, which is a statistic much worse than experts originally believed.
Gum disease is not always related to poor oral hygiene. Genetics, some medical conditions, and lifestyle can also contribute to whether or not you will develop gingivitis. Smokers, those who suffer from dry mouth, eat poorly, or experience a lot of stress are more likely to develop gum disease. If gum disease runs in your family, this too puts you at higher risk of developing it yourself.
As mentioned, gum disease often presents with no symptoms. But some people will experience warning signs, such as:
- Gums that bleed when you floss and brush
- Bad breath that lingers even with good oral hygiene
- Gums that look red and swollen
- Gums that are receding, making teeth look unusually long
Brushing and flossing regularly are good habits that help keep gum disease from taking hold. It’s also important to visit your dentist twice each year for examinations and cleanings. Your dentist will be able to monitor your gum health to ensure that any early signs of gingivitis are treated.