Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS December 20, 2015
I am a periodontist, a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease. I have been treating patients for almost 42 years. I know what gum disease is; I know how to treat gum disease. Also, I know what you need to do to prevent gum disease from damaging your mouth and your overall health.
I come from a different perspective: I believe combining a natural approach along with a traditional approach creates the best of both worlds. So, I have put together my thoughts in a series of three Parts.
In this Part, I discuss the prevalence of gum disease and what you may notice if you have gum disease. In Part 2, you will learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy gums as well as how a dentist can determine if you have gum disease. In the last Part of the series, I go into the causes of gum disease and my unique approach to treatment.
What’s The Big Deal?
The big deal is that gum disease is pervasive in our society and affects the entire body.
A study published in 2010 reported that 93.9% of adults in the US had some form of gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis usually causes redness and bleeding of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth.
Another study published in 2012 showed that 47.2% of the adult population over the age of 30 in the US had periodontitis (which translated to 64.7 million Americans). If you were over the age of 65, the chance of having periodontitis would jump to 70.1%. Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease where the gums are infected and the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth are breaking down. This disease leads to bad breath, loose teeth, loss of teeth, sensitive teeth, pain, gum recession, and even spread of infection to other parts of the body.
Gum disease can be a big deal.
How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?
If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, you probably have some type of gum disease. But, that is not the whole story. You may have gum disease if your gums are not bleeding because the disease may be deeper under the gums. Sometimes the gums may be swollen or tender, but not always. The teeth may be loose or sensitive, but not always. You may have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, but not always.
Gum (or periodontal) diseases are divided between gingivitis, which only affects the gums, and periodontitis, which involves the gums around the teeth and the jawbone supporting the teeth.
In Part 2, I help you understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy gum tissues and how a dental specialist can determine if you have this disease.