It’s an unfortunate fact – and one that most dentists bemoan – that most people just don’t take gum disease very seriously. It doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort in its early stages and it doesn’t get as much attention in popular media as cavities. And that’s too bad because gum disease is a very serious inflammatory disorder that causes bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, tooth loss, and even a heightened risk for cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Learn the truth behind these three gum disease myths and learn how preventive dentistry can help you enjoy a healthier smile.
Myth 1: “Bleeding Gums Aren’t a Big Deal”
If your gums bleed a little after you brush your teeth, it’s no big deal, right? After all, it doesn’t really hurt and it’s just a little blood. Unfortunately, bleeding gums are a big deal because they’re one of the first symptoms of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. If you notice some pink in the sink after brushing or flossing your teeth, you should be worried. Without treatment, gingivitis can easily advance into full blown gum disease.
Save Your Smile: You can effectively treat most cases of gingivitis at home by practicing regular dental care habits. Brush after meals and snacks, floss before bed, and talk to your dentist about what type of mouthwash will work best for your oral health needs.
Myth 2: “Brushing is Enough”
Brushing is great and it’s a cornerstone of a healthy dental hygiene plan, but it’s not enough to thoroughly protect your smile from gum disease. Flossing is the most effective method for removing plaque (that sticky, bacteria-laden gunk that causes gum disease) from between teeth. Some dentists even argue that flossing does more for maintaining a healthy smile than brushing (although you certainly shouldn’t toss out your toothbrush just yet).
Save Your Smile: Whether you choose plain old waxed dental floss, interdental brushes, or a sonic water flosser, find a dental floss variety that you like and use it.
Myth 3: “I Take Care of My Teeth, So I’m in the Clear”
Maybe you floss and brush regularly, but you may be at additional risk for gum disease for other reasons outside of your control. Factors like diabetes, tobacco use, gender, ethnicity, and family history can put you at additional risk.
Save Your Smile: At your next checkup, your dentist will talk to you about risk factors for gum disease and will design a preventive care plan meant to keep your smile healthy.