Do I have Gum disease?

Two definitions to start:

1)Gingivitis- is the inflammation of the outermost soft tissues of the gums. Also referred to as gum disease.

2)Periodontal disease: Are the group of diseases that affect the tissues that support and anchor the teeth. In a nut shell, if the disease involves the anchoring bone, it is referred to as periodontitis. If it involves the gums, it is referred to as gingivitis. You can have active gingivitis without active periodontitis, but not the other way around.

Another of my ‘blogs’ will address the importance of keeping your gums healthy. The more your gums bleed increase your chances of developing coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes. The simplicity of this, is have your dentist and hygienist regularly be diligent and thorough about keeping your gums clean, and you won’t generally have bleeding gums.

Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the leading causes of tooth loss in older adults. However, people should realized that even though the possibility of developing periodontal disease does increase with age, it doesn’t mean you will develop it. While the inevitability of getting old occur (getting wrinkles, eyesight decreasing, hearing decreasing) periodontal disease can often be prevented. As we age, we do become more prone to getting gum disease due to a decrease in general health status, diminished immune response, medications, worsening memory, diminishing salivary flow and functional impairments. Every person’s gum condition is not the same, and they should not be treated the same. Some people, even at advanced ages, have managed to avoid any periodontal issues at all.

Find a dentist who takes the time to listen to you and discuss with you any alterations in your changing health condition(s), and any alterations in your at home oral care routine that become necessary as your mouth changes. The dentist may have excellent things they can do for you, or even free advice to give, that can keep those teeth of yours more comfortable, and even in your head longer.

It is always a good idea to develop good habits when you are young, to be able to carry that good routine into later years. This includes brushing correctly and flossing properly. Ask your dental professional to make sure you are doing it correctly, it only takes a minute at the end of your appointment to show them what you do, and they can give advice as needed on how to improve if necessary. You’re paying them, get all you can out of it.

Sadly, as we get older things do change in your mouths, and when they do, the routines of brushing and flossing developed when younger need to change as well. Also remember, everyone and everyone’s periodontal condition is different, they should not be all treated the same way. See your dentist regularly, develop excellent routines and habits when young to carry on when you’re older, and change slightly as necessary. Be aware of small bits of information like this as they can result in big benefits.

Dr. Mike

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One Response to “Do I have Gum disease?”

  1. phoenix braces 12. Oct, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I love your blog. I love my practice and all my patients. Your blog always encurages me to keep working hard! Thanks for your ideas and opinions. Keep up the good work, for me! 🙂

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