From our youngest years when we first held a toothbrush on our own, we were taught the importance of diligent oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day to keep cavities away, don’t eat too much sugary food, and other words of wisdom. But caring for our gums is often overlooked and yet healthy gums are essential for robust and enduring oral well-being.
Nearly everyone wants a smile beaming with bright white teeth, but you can’t have that smile without the support of strong gums. In fact, our gums provide the foundation needed for not only healthy teeth, but overall bone and facial structure.
What happens, then, if gum disease takes hold? While many people think they know all about the condition or believe it’s really nothing to worry about; there are many misconceptions out there. Let’s take a look at some of the common myths of gum disease but first we’ll review what the disease is all about.
Gum disease defined
Simply stated, gum disease is a condition developing along and underneath the gum line that involves the accumulation of plaque. Plaque’s sticky film is loaded with bacteria that steadily work at causing your gums to become tender and bleed, and sometimes develop infection. Gum disease is also known as gingivitis and left unchecked can transition into periodontal disease. At this stage the gums bleed, inflamed, and can even affect blood pressure. Over time, gum disease can progress to the point of deteriorating the bones surrounding your teeth and jaw.
One of the most troubling aspects of gum disease is its lack of visible symptoms. In its early stages, the disease is invisible and you won’t know you have it until it has taken hold and compromised your oral integrity. There are, however, sings to look for including bleeding gums, swollen or tender gums, brighter red color, separating or loose teeth, and a consistent bad taste in the mouth.
Even with all that we know about gum disease, there remains plenty of misinformation and disbelief. Here are 5 common myths surrounding gum disease.
Bleeding gums are nothing to worry about
One of the first signs of gum disease is bleeding, red, and swollen gums. People generally notice these issues during brushing and flossing, or eating particular foods. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately make an appointment with your dentist.
I can only get gum disease from poor oral hygiene
Poor oral habits can certainly speed up the development of gum disease but it is not the only way by any means. Genetics, poor diet, tobacco use, stress, and teeth grinding all play a part in causing problems with your gums.
It’s not necessary to floss every day
Many people think that it’s fine to floss just once in a while. Reality, however, is the complete opposite. Along with brushing at least twice a day, your daily oral hygiene routine should always include flossing at least once every day. Even though flossing is a proven means to help prevent gum disease, less than 15 percent of Americans do so.
I don’t have cavities so I don’t have gum disease
It is always a good thing to be cavity-free but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear with gum disease. Even if you don’t feel pain, gum disease’s earliest stage, gingivitis, could be underway. If you have swollen, red, or tender gums and treat them right away; gingivitis can be efficiently treated with a thorough dental cleaning.
A tooth lost to gum disease is gone forever
Tooth loss from gum disease is common but it does not mean you will have to live with a big empty space in your mouth. Today’s dental technology allow for efficient tooth replacement through dental implants and other means. Dental implants are artificial teeth secured into the jaw and they are specifically created to match your existing teeth.
Don’t let gum disease enter your life. With a dedicated oral care regime, you can prevent this condition’s onset and maintain a healthy mouth and overall healthy body.
Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush on your teeth and gums, and don’t forget the insides of your cheeks and your tongue as well. Always remember the twice a day routine for brushing and flossing.