The prevalence of gum disease among the adult population can be shocking. It's estimated that over 47% of people 30 years and older have some form of gum disease. The incidence increases dramatically as we age with 70% of people 65 years and older suffering from periodontal disease.
While these numbers paint a grim picture about our oral hygiene and lifestyle habits, there is some good news too.
Gum disease can be reversed. Here's how.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that's generally caused by poor oral hygiene. There are two main types of Gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It's usually caused by plaque and tartar buildup that enable bacteria growth. If you have gingivitis, then you may notice that your gums are swollen, red, and tender and that they bleed easily when you brush or floss your teeth.
If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a condition that affects that only your gums, but the bone supporting your teeth too.
When you have periodontitis, your gums will start receding, making your teeth look longer than usual. You may also notice pus coming out of your gums if the infection is severe. Your teeth MAY also become loose as there is not enough bone mass and gum tissue to support them.
Periodontitis can be chronic, aggressive, and necrotizing periodontal disease. Chronic periodontitis is the most common one and it can be treated. Only a small fraction of the population has aggressive periodontitis and necrotizing periodontal disease is quite rare and only occurs in people with a compromised immune system.
How to Reverse Gum Disease
While gingivitis can be reversed, periodontitis can only be slowed down. That's why proper oral care and regular dentist visits are so important. This way, you can identify gum disease in its early stages and act quickly to reverse it.
Here's what you can do to reverse gum disease and keep your gums and teeth healthy:
- Good Oral Hygiene Is Key
As we said, the plaque and tartar buildup are usually the main culprits for gum disease. By practicing proper oral hygiene, you will keep your teeth clean. Brush your teeth two times a day preferably with an electric toothbrush to better remove plaque. Don't forget to floss too as food particles can get trapped in between your food and feed harmful bacteria.
- Go to Regular Dental Check-ups
See your dentist once every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning. The dentist will use specialized tools to remove tartar formed at the root of your teeth and under your gum line.
- Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking will not only promote better oral health but help you avoid numerous other health conditions too.