Gum disease can be a very serious oral health issue. When left untreated, it can result in tooth loss and may even contribute to heart disease and other complications. Despite this, many people don’t fully understand gum disease; there are several misconceptions about the condition floating around. If you want to protect your gums as well as the rest of your smile, it’s important to have all the facts. Here are 5 common gum disease myths and the reality behind them.
Myth 1: Gum Disease is Not a Common Condition
Gum disease affects a lot more people than you might realize. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the condition affects approximately half of Americans at or above the age of 30. As such, when it comes to protecting your oral health, you need to give your gums the same level of attention and care that you give your teeth.
Myth 2: You Can’t Get Gum Disease If You Don’t Have Cavities
Both tooth decay and gum disease are caused by the accumulation of harmful oral bacteria. Because of this, you might think that if your teeth are free of cavities, your gums are safe as well. Unfortunately, this is not the case; even if your teeth seem to be in good shape, you could still have problems with your gums. If you see any symptoms that could point to gum disease, such as bleeding or swollen gums, you should call your dentist right away.
Myth 3: Gum Disease is Only Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene
It’s certainly true that failing to brush and floss regularly can significantly increase your risk of gum disease. However, there are other variables that can potentially contribute to gum problems, such as stress, a diet that’s high in sugar, and tobacco. Furthermore, some people are inherently more susceptible to gum disease than others due to genetics. Being aware of the risk factors for gum disease can help you take the appropriate steps to avoid it.
Myth 4: It’s Easy to Tell If You Have Gum Disease
The frightening truth is millions of people in the United States are suffering from gum disease without realizing it. While there are warning signs you can watch out for, oftentimes the condition develops silently. To give yourself the best chance of having your gum disease diagnosed and treated while it’s still in its early stages, you should visit your dentist for a checkup at least twice a year.
Myth 5: Gum Disease Always Leads to Tooth Loss
Even if you’ve developed gum disease, you can often still keep your teeth if you’re proactive about getting the care you need. Your dentist can often treat gum disease with scaling and root planing, and they can help you put together a plan to keep the condition under control so that you can avoid the most severe consequences.
About the Author
Dr. Monil Mehta graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. He has completed countless hours of advanced training in various areas of dentistry, including laser gum therapy. His Chanhassen practice, Dentistry on the Ponds, offers scaling and root planing to stop gum disease from spreading. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mehta, visit his website or call (952) 906-0200.