As children, missing a few teeth was considered cute. The prospect of money under your pillow from the tooth fairy even made losing a tooth exciting.
It’s safe to say, as an adult, losing teeth is not something anyone looks forward to. If you knew you were putting yourself at risk of a toothless smile in the future, you’d want to do everything you could to prevent it, right?
“I brush and floss (almost) every day, isn’t that enough to keep my teeth from falling out?”
Brushing and flossing are very important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Very few people floss as often as needed to prevent bacteria from growing. It’s important to realize gingivitis can develop in as few as 24 hours! While excellent home care is the most important step to preventing gum disease, there are many risk factors.
In addition to age, these factors can increase your risk for gum disease:
• Poor nutrition or eating habits
• Being overweight
• Smoking or tobacco use
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Skipping dental cleanings
• Family history
• Hormone fluctuations
• Grinding or clenching teeth
• Cardiovascular disease
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Osteoporosis or osteopenia
“Wouldn’t it be obvious if I had gum disease?”
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease and only a very small percentage seek treatment. You can have gum disease with very few – sometimes no symptoms or pain at all – until it’s progressed to very advanced stages!
Symptoms of advanced gum disease include:
• Bad breath that won’t go away
• Red or swollen gums
• Tender or bleeding gums
• Painful chewing
• Loose teeth
• Sensitive teeth
• Receding gums
The only sure way to know if you have gum disease, what stage the disease may be, and to develop a plan of action to stop the progression and attempt to repair any damage that’s already been done is to have a comprehensive periodontal evaluation by a licensed dental professional.
Your Burke and Alexandria dentist can help. Even if it’s been years since you’ve had a dental exam, we can develop a plan to save or preserve your smile, before it’s too late. Your future self will thank you!