IN THE WORLD of dental health, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is absolutely true, particularly when it comes to gum disease. A major factor in helping our patients avoid gum disease before, during, and after their orthodontic treatment is making sure they’re well informed on the subject, and that means it’s time to debunk a few common gum disease myths.
Myth #1: Bleeding Gums Are Normal
One of the most popular dental health myths is that a little pink in the sink is perfectly normal. The truth is, bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. Gums swell, bleed, and become tender when plaque accumulates on the teeth and around the gum line. Keep your gums healthy by removing plaque and food debris with daily brushing and flossing, and make sure to use a soft-bristled brush.
Myth #2: Poor Dental Hygiene Causes Gum Disease
While neglecting good oral hygiene habits definitely contributes to the development of gum disease, there can be many other factors involved. Tobacco use, stress, a bad diet, genetics, pregnancy, and illnesses such as diabetes can all increase your risk of developing gum disease.
Because of the wide variety of risk factors, maintaining great oral hygiene habits doesn’t always prevent gum disease. In the earliest stages, it can be painless and have no symptoms, so many people don’t even know they have it. That’s why proper oral hygiene and twice-yearly visits to your dentist are essential for your oral health, even if you don’t have a cavity!
Myth #3: Gum Disease Is Irreversible
In the early stages (gingivitis), gum disease can be reversed! The earlier gingivitis is caught, the easier it is to eliminate before it advances to full-blown periodontitis. Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome, but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis and stop gum disease in its tracks.
Myth #4: Only Adults Can Get Gum Disease
Gum disease is much more prevalent in adults, but that doesn’t mean children are immune. Genetics, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes can leave children susceptible to gum disease. Even puberty, with all its hormonal changes, can put your child at risk. Their best defense against any dental disease–gum disease and tooth decay included–is to take care of their teeth at home and visit the dentist on a regular basis.
Myth #5: Everyone With Diabetes Has Gum Disease
Diabetes is definitely risk factor for a gum disease, but that just makes regular dental visits and a rigorous oral hygiene regimen that much more essential. Keeping your gums healthy will actually make your diabetes easier to manage, and vice versa!
Gum Disease Myths…Busted!
Now that you know more about gum disease, keep up the good work maintaining healthy gums! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
As always, thank you for supporting our practice.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.