Gum Disease: The silent killer
Do you experience sore and red gums that often bleed easily while brushing or flossing? Then you may be among tens of millions of Canadians who have gum disease. You may also realize that you have bad taste in your mouth and/or chronic breath that stops you from eating and interacting freely with other people.
These are just some of the common symptoms of gum disease. If you notice any of them, you need to bring forward your next dentist appointment before things get worse.
Gum disease is quite common, and statistics show that at least seven out of ten Canadians develop the disease at some point in their lifetime.
Dentists refer to it as a silent killer since it usually starts off painless until it becomes a significant issue to deal with. In fact, you may never realize that you have developed gum disease until the later stages when the symptoms start to show.
Furthermore, this condition is linked to a wide range of other illness that includes diabetes, obesity, strokes, heart diseases, and even certain types of cancer.
What is it?
Gum disease, also referred to as periodontitis, is a term used to refer to an infection of the bone and tissues that support your teeth. This infection occurs when germs and harmful bacteria infect the gum tissues causing severe redness, swelling, and even bleeding. In its advanced stages, the disease eats away the bone mass around your teeth which can easily lead to loss of teeth.
What causes gum disease?
Scientific study has revealed that gum disease occurs as a result of bacteria that stick to and grow on the teeth surface. With time, this bacterium travels down into the gum tissue which triggers an immune response that causes severe inflammation and traps the bacteria right in the gum tissue.
It is also good to mention that the bacteria that cause gum disease is already in your mouth, but it only starts to multiply when you consume a lot of foods that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates.
Can you prevent gum disease?
Experts say that the secret to preventing gum disease and staying healthy is practicing good and regular oral hygiene. The Canadian Dental Association suggests you brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss at least once every day.
You should also keep in mind that the bacteria containing plaque starts to harden within 48 hours; therefore, brushing in the morning and evening is incredibly vital.
If you brush and don’t floss, you may still experience gum disease since the plaque can start to form in places that your toothbrush can’t reach such as below the gum line.
To reach such areas of your mouth and get rid of the bacteria, you need to floss correctly. A general rule of thumb is to begin with at least 15 inches of floss; gently insert it between your teeth and dip below your gum line periodically.
The other simple way of preventing gum disease is to schedule regular dentist appointments. Remember the fact that gum disease doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time to develop. If you visit your dentist regularly, he/she can discover some of these issues before they become serious complications.