While gum disease can have major repercussions on your overall health—including leading to issues like heart disease, respiratory illness, stroke, and even complications with pregnancy—there seems to be many misconceptions floating around about the disease. In order to make sure your gums stay in great condition, be sure not to fall for these six common myths!
Myth #1: Gum disease is not common.
You may be surprised to learn that gum disease is actually quite common in the United States. In fact, 75% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of the illness. Therefore, it is very important to have your gums checked by your dentist to ensure that you’re in good oral health.
Myth #2: Cavities lead to gum disease.
While people with gum disease may also have cavities, it is not the dental decay that leads to this oral health issue. Prolonged plaque and tartar on your teeth are the primary culprit for gum disease. They irritate the gums and lead to an infection known as gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated.
Myth #3: It is normal for gums to bleed on occasion.
Many people tend to believe that bleeding gums is simply a sign of brushing or flossing too hard. However, if your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, this is a warning sign for gingivitis—the earliest stage of gum disease. Therefore, if you notice a tinge of blood in your saliva after brushing, or if your gums look red and inflamed, be sure to have them checked out by a dentist as soon as possible.
Myth #4: Patients with gum disease will likely lose all of their teeth.
Every patient with gum disease is different, and therefore their individual circumstances will be different as well. While tooth loss can occur as a result of advanced gum disease, this is not necessarily always the case. With proper treatment and early detection, you can avoid tooth loss as well as other serious side effects.
Myth #5: Only unhealthy patients get gum disease.
It is a common misconception that only those with very poor dental hygiene or those suffering from serious health conditions can get gum disease. However, this is certainly not always the case, as a number of outside factors can play a role in determining your risk for gum disease. For starters, tobacco usage, stress, and even genetics can impact the health of your gums. This means you could appear to be in great health and still have gum disease.
Myth #6: If you have gum disease, you will know.
Symptoms of gum disease can, at times, be difficult to detect by an untrained professional. In fact, gum disease is often referred to as the “silent disease” as it can be relatively asymptomatic and many people do not realize they have it. Therefore, the best possible way to ensure that you do not have gum disease is to visit your dentist at least once every six months.