Gum Disease: 3 Out Of 4 Adults Have It
Every day, 24-hours a day, over 500 species of active micro-organisms are happy and comfortable living in your mouth. And that’s just KINDS of bacteria. Given that each kind can consist of well over 100,000 bacteria, it becomes clear why many dentists say that your mouth is home to more individual bacteria than there are people in the city of New York. And, just like New York city, they NEVER sleep. They only do two things: munch on food left in your teeth and make more germs.
In reality, there is one more thing the bacteria do and that’s what causes all the problems. They poop out waste product. That bacteria poop is toxic to your teeth and gums.
The major cause of gum disease is plaque, the icky layer of bacteria excrement that constantly builds up on your teeth. The bacteria’s excrement (plaque) has chemicals that can damage the teeth and gums.
Gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is very common in adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss. Research shows that over 75% of Americans age 35 and over have some form of gum disease as a result of medications, diet, or lack of adequate dental hygiene care.
Common symptoms of gum disease are:
• bleeding gums after brushing
• cherry red color to gums
• mouth sores
• red, puffy gums
• bad breath (halitosis)
With regular professional cleanings and a quality at-home oral hygiene routine, it is possible to remove the plaque and prevent gum disease. Even the damaging effects of gum disease are also amazingly simple to turn around if treated early by our hygienists.
Our hygienists provide gentle, thorough cleanings that remove the plaque coating that normal brushing fails to remove. They also provide education and instruction on how to get rid of the most plaque possible at home.
Recent studies have shown an association between gum disease and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight and diabetes. Because gum disease can have an adverse effect on your over-all health, Dr. Peck strongly suggests getting professional cleanings at least every six months.
Gum disease is deceptively painless in the early stages, so you may not be aware that you have it. Add to that the fact that gum disease is almost impossible for the patient to diagnose on their own and it becomes obvious why you need to see us regularly. At your cleanings, Dr. Peck and a Fred H. Peck, DDS hygienist will measure the depth of the shallow, v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your teeth and gums to diagnose if you have gum disease.
Gum disease attacks at the connection of your teeth and gum line in the sulcus, where it breaks down the connective tissues. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket. Over time, the pocket can get so deep that your tooth is no longer attached to your gums or jawbone. And, that’s when they fall out.