When you hear “gum disease”, also referred to as “periodontal disease”, you may disregard this as a disease that only affects older adults. Maybe you’ve heard that 70.1% of adults (65 years or older) have gum disease (according to the CDC), so you think your age group is not at risk.
Unfortunately, young adults absolutely are at risk of developing gum disease.
During your young adult years, if you don’t commit to excellent oral care, you could be causing irreversible damage to your gums and underlying jaw bone!
How does gum disease develop?
Gum disease develops when plaque, food particles, debris and bacteria build up beneath the gum line. As bacteria continues to accumulate, it forms pockets of infection between the gums and tooth roots. These pockets are essentially bacteria reserves. As the gums become more and more infected with bacterial buildup, the pockets grow larger, the periodontal tissues start to deteriorate, the gums start to recede from the teeth and the tooth roots start to expose themselves.
As gum disease progresses into the later stages, teeth start to loosen from their place as supporting periodontal tissues wither away. Gums recede drastically. The jaw bone starts to deteriorate as the infection penetrates deeper into the bone. Teeth even begin to fall out in progressed cases of gum disease. (The leading cause of tooth loss is actually gum disease!)
In its progression, gum disease becomes irreversible, and methods such as bone regeneration, dental implants and flap & osseous surgery are necessary to replace the damaged tissues and teeth. This is why it’s so important to stop gum disease before it begins!
What are the risk factors of gum disease?
Gum disease develops for a number of reasons, but poor hygiene habits are at the top of the list! Most risk factors of gum disease are preventable:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Brushing teeth minimally
- Failure to floss regularly
How can I prevent gum disease?
The most important precaution you can take is brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing between each tooth at least once a day!
If you notice your gums turning bright red, swelling or bleeding when you brush or floss, it’s time to kick your oral hygiene habits into overdrive! When your gums become increasingly sensitive, this is a sign that they’re irritated and vulnerable to the first stage of gum disease: gingivitis.
- Keep a travel-sized toothbrush with you and brush your teeth after meals to prevent plaque and food particles from building up under your gum line.
- Kick poor habits!
- Don’t go to sleep without brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Eat a balanced diet and avoid overloading on sugary, sweet, and sticky foods.
- Stop smoking!
- Undergo preventative cleaning treatments, such as scaling and root planing.
Gum disease is a serious matter, and the time to start preventative care is now! Young adults are at serious risk of developing gum disease. Educate yourself on the 3 stages of gum disease and the reversibility of gum disease damage through the stages.
Is it time to schedule an appointment with us? Take control of your periodontal health today! We provide laser gum surgery, periodontal disease therapy, esthetic crown lengthening and more to our communities in Tampa and New Port Richey.