Many of us worry about two basic things when we have to go to the dentist: that we will have cavities, and that the experience will be painful. Although cavities are definitely a concern, there are far more serious conditions that your dentist can discover at your appointment.
For example, take gum disease. Sure, it sounds relatively mundane, but this condition certainly deserves to be called a disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) defines gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, as an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque in which the gums pull away from the teeth and create pockets between the gums and teeth where bacteria builds up. The plaque in those pockets can be difficult to remove, and the bacteria that builds up can damage the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed easily, constant bad breath, pus between the teeth and gums, and changes in the way your teeth fit together.
Gum disease affects 8.52 percent of American adults between the ages of 20 and 64, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It is most prevalent among adults ages 50 to 64, and it is almost twice as common among men as among women. Early stages of gum disease are known as gingivitis, and the more advanced form is called periodontitis.
The means of avoiding gum disease are fairly straightforward: the ADA advises brushing twice daily, cleaning between the teeth (such as by flossing) every day, having regular dental check-ups, and asking your dentist to observe and help improve your oral hygiene technique.
But once gum disease sets in, it can be difficult to effectively remove the harmful plaque and bacteria. Fortunately, professional treatment can turn gum disease around and prevent future reoccurrence. At The Schiff Dental Group, we stress the importance of preventative dental care for the entire family. Your total emotional and physical well-being is as important to us as your teeth. To learn more and request an appointment today, click here.