Gum Disease Stages
You or someone you know may have some kind of gum disease. In fact, 75% of Americans will suffer from gum disease in their lifetime. It is important to distinguish that there is not only one form of gum disease, but there are multiple forms that may affect your overall oral health. If left untreated, some forms of gum disease may put you at risk for some forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It is important to educate yourself about the symptoms, risks, and treatments of gingivitis, as well as more advanced periodontitis, which are the two most common forms of gum disease.
Gingivitis is the most famous form of gum disease-you have heard of it from a dentist, or you have seen ads of fighting gingivitis on TV-but besides knowing the name, you can also recognize it. If left untreated, gingivitis can evolve into periodontitis, which is a more dangerous form of gum disease. Periodontal disease can cause infections and damage the bones that support the teeth. It can lead to tooth loss, bleeding gums, and bad breath.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
For many people, mild gum disease does not show any symptoms, but if you notice any difference in your mouth or teeth, be sure to tell your dentist. Failure to maintain proper oral care routines at home can put you at significant risk of gum disease. Gum disease is also caused by a series of other factors and has nothing to do with brushing your teeth. For example, smokers often see an increase in disease along their gum line. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to suffer from gum disease. Changes in the human body can also cause gum disease. Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can cause 60-70% of pregnant women to experience gum disease.
Conditions Related to Gum Disease
Gum disease can also affect diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, 95% of people with diabetes will experience some form of gum disease. Gum disease can also affect heart health, and if left untreated, it may even lead to cardiovascular disease.
Several types of health conditions can cause poor healing of oral tissues. However, diabetic patients should always be aware that any type of dental problem may make their recovery poor. Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases. Diabetics are at higher risk of infection and often suffer from dry mouth, which can promote tooth decay and gingivitis. And because diabetic patients are also prone to poor healing of oral tissues, if gingivitis occurs, it may be more difficult to treat. This is why regular oral care is particularly important. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and soft floss to minimize discomfort.
Leukemia increases the risk of gum disease. Gingivitis may be an early symptom of leukemia, especially in children. Research data shows that about 25% of children with leukemia suffer from gingivitis as the first sign of cancer. In leukemia patients, gingivitis occurs when leukemia cells infiltrate the gums, and because leukemia reduces the body’s ability to fight infections, gingivitis becomes more serious. Active leukemia patients with gingivitis may need to avoid brushing and flossing their teeth and wipe their teeth and gums with clean gauze. Because the blood of leukemia patients does not clot well, even lightly brushing and flossing the gums can cause excessive bleeding. Similarly, a dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a professional mouthwash to help control plaque when the patient is being treated for leukemia.