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What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Wrong! Not in the case of gum disease which is a leading factor in tooth loss in adults. We may have gum disease and not be aware because it can be painless. Not attending to our oral health in the area of gum disease may result in totally avoidable tooth loss affecting our overall health and appearance. Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is caused by plaque, the sticky substance which is constantly forming on our teeth. The ADA lists some warning signs and risk factors for gum disease.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking or chewing tobacco
  • genetics
  • crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy
    drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and
    oral contraceptives

The key to preventing tooth loss is to treat gum disease sooner rather than later. Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is easily treated and reversible. Professional cleaning at your dentist’s office along with daily brushing and flossing is the best approach. Advanced gum disease, called periodontitis, can lead to loss of tissue and bone, which support the teeth.

Good dental care is very important to your overall health. No one needs to lose teeth to preventable gum disease. See your dentist regularly to insure overall health and a smile you can be proud of.

Oshins of Smiles,

– Dr. Steven Oshins