There is an epidemic in this country that is more prevalent than any flu or most problems you can think of. It’s happening right now, and it affects about 75 percent of Americans. Your dentist can help you prevent or manage this problem.

It’s gum disease. You probably never considered gum disease to be a huge threat to your oral health, but it is. When you’re at home, you should have an oral care plan that focuses on your teeth and your gums. Today I want to share five facts that will have you rethinking your oral hygiene routine. At Newingham Dental Center, we focus on fighting decay and periodontal disease.

Here are five important facts you need to know about periodontal disease:

1. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. I understand that we dentists love to focus on tooth decay, but you might be surprised to learn that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Tooth decay can certainly lead to needed extractions, but gum disease is a much bigger threat when it comes to tooth loss. Gum disease occurs when an infection is present in the gums. If left untreated, that infection will create an infectious pocket — a periodontal pocket — between the teeth and gums and can even spread to the bone. When gum disease begins attacking the bone, it oftens lead to tooth failure.

2. Your oral health and overall health are connected. Gum disease isn’t just an oral health issue. Researchers have found that patients with gum disease have a higher risk of getting diabetes and heart disease. Research suggests that the same inflammation present in gum disease is also present in heart disease and diabetes.

3. Floss is your friend. The proven method of cleaning below the gumline is floss. Patients who use floss decrease their risk of gum disease and tooth decay. I know you probably hear this a lot at the dental office, but I want you to consider this fact the next time you want to skip flossing: About 35 percent of the tooth is beneath the gumline. That’s a huge portion of your tooth to neglect. Would you only clean 65 of your body and consider yourself clean? I doubt it. The same applies to your teeth. To clean your entire tooth, you need to floss and brush.

4. Swelling and red gums are the first sign of gum disease. While gum disease can often strike without warning, patients with gum disease often have bleeding or swollen gums. If you are experiencing bleeding gum or tenderness in the gums, give us a call. It’s important to stop this problem before it balloons into a larger issue that will need constant care.

5. Most forms of gum disease cannot be cured. Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease. This happens when you have bleeding or swelling in the gums. Gingivitis can be reversed with periodontal maintenance and oral health. Unfortunately, not all forms of gum disease can be reversed. Patients with severe forms of gum disease will need constant dental maintenance. We ask that patients with gum disease visit the dental office once every three to four months, as the bacteria that causes gum disease and multiply and spread quickly.

At Newingham Dental Center, we offer periodontal management for patients and gentle treatments to ensure that your mouth is healthy. We use saliva diagnostics to find the root of your gum issues, and we can refer you to a qualified specialist if you have severe gum problems.

Call our office today at 248-972-8720 to schedule an appointment for you or your family.