Beat Gum Disease
March 16, 2023
By: Jannat Baig, Naaz Bangali, Pavana Pragna Bathula, and Sophia Kwok
Mountain House High School HOSA- Future Health Professionals
The CDC states that “47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of [severe gum] disease” (CDC, 2013). Gum disease begins when bacteria infect the tissues around the teeth, leading to inflammation of the gums. If the bacteria remains in the teeth, it can turn into plaque, harden into tartar, and spread below the gum line. Tartar, a calcified deposit that contributes to tooth decay, requires cleaning by a dental health professional as it is more difficult to treat.
Stages, Symptoms & Risks
Gum disease can be categorized into two main stages based on the severity of the disease: gingivitis (a milder form of the disease) and periodontitis (advanced stage). Many individuals fail to recognize signs of gingivitis early on because symptoms are typically mild. Usually, these symptoms include red, swollen, or sensitive gums. Without proper care, the plaque buildup continues and gingivitis progresses into periodontitis.
Individuals with periodontitis may experience swollen gums, sensitive teeth, persistent bad breath, and mouth sores. If left untreated, periodontitis can damage the gums and jaw bone, eventually leading to bone loss, tooth loss, and gum pockets. In addition, periodontitis is associated with a higher risk of developing other systemic conditions such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels. Risk factors associated with periodontitis include smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes, and genetic susceptibility.
Prevention & Treatment
There are many nonsurgical and surgical treatments that exist to treat gum disease. However, with over 1 billion cases of gum disease, it’s important to practice oral hygiene early on and maintain it throughout your life. Additionally, you should regularly visit your dentist for check ups. If you notice any signs of gum disease or think you are at risk for developing gum disease, you should consult your dentist. Remember, prevention is always less costly than treatment!
Periodontal Disease | Oral Health Conditions | Division of Oral Health | CDC. (2013, July 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 21, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html