Gum Disease Fact Sheet
Did you know that 42% of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease and 7.8% of those have the most severe form?
Affecting almost half the adults in the US, gum disease is a problem with a variety of causes and risk factors. While it starts with fairly mild symptoms, it can result in unwanted pockets in your mouth and even tooth loss if left untreated. Learn more about this common dental threat and find out how to identify and treat it before it affects your smile.
Understanding Gum Disease
While gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors, it forms the same way every time. When sugar accumulates on your teeth and leads to plaque, it can seep down into your gum tissue, causing an infection. This infection is known as gum disease, a dental problem that consistently becomes worse until it’s properly treated.
Three Stages of Gum Disease
You’ve probably heard the term “gingivitis” and wondered how it relates to gum disease. To understand this, it’s important to know that gum disease progresses through three stages, each with their own characteristics and symptoms.
The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis. In this stage, the symptoms are fairly mild and include redness and irritation in the gums. Treating gum disease at this stage is easy, and can be done using a scaling and root planing procedure combined with excellent oral care at home.
When gingivitis progresses without treatment, it evolves into a more severe form, known as periodontitis. Symptoms are more severe in this stage, as pockets begin to form throughout your mouth. It’s vital to seek professional dental care if you notice these pockets because periodontitis can lead to permanent damage in your gum tissue.
3. Advanced Periodontitis
Some people neglect their gum disease and allow it to progress into advanced periodontitis. In this stage, the most severe form, permanent damage has been sustained and tooth loss may occur. Treating advanced periodontitis is likely to involve gum grafting and other surgeries, so it’s vital to treat gum disease at its earliest stages.
Causes and Risk Factors
While dental neglect will invariably lead to gum disease, there are a wide range of other causes as well, including:
- Alcohol Abuse
- Tobacco Use
- High Sugar Diet
- Certain Diseases
Important Statistics Regarding Gum Disease
Factors that increase the odds of someone developing gum include access to dental care, ethnicity, and even education. Peruse these remarkable stats on this common dental problem.
- 14.74% of current smokers have gum disease versus only 7.61% of former smokers
- 17.33% of those without a diploma have gum disease versus only 9.34% who do
- 10.65% of males have gum disease versus only 6.4% of females
Attend Your Dental Cleanings to Prevent Gum Disease
By continuing to brush your teeth twice a day and paying attention to anything unusual in your mouth, you stand a good chance at catching gum disease before it becomes serious. It’s also vital to attend your biannual dental appointments. When you visit our office in Champaign, IL, we’ll conduct a thorough exam to ensure that there are no signs of gum disease or any other dental problems. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Martin.