As the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, gum disease affects nearly 70% of adults younger than 60. Since gum disease is highly preventable with the right care and attention, your Allen periodontist, Dr. Marco Cueva, considers these statistics unacceptable. To help you better understand how to protect your smile from irreversible damage, Dr. Cueva answers some of the most frequently asked questions about gum disease, including how to address the disease at its source.

Gum Health and Disease

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is one of several consequences of inadequate dental hygiene, and results from the excessive buildup of bacteria-produced dental plaque. Some of the germs that comprise the sticky biofilm, particularly the bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, can cause gum inflammation and recession—the swelling of your gum tissue and its separation from your teeth—that can quickly lead to gum disease when left unchecked.

Is gum disease contagious?

Though the inflammation and other tissue-damaging symptoms of gum disease aren’t contagious, the bacteria responsible for the condition can be passed along through saliva. In addition to the microbes that already inhabit your mouth, the introduction of someone else’s germ-laden saliva can increase your risk of developing gum disease. If someone you know, such as a family member or loved one, exhibits signs of gum disease (i.e., redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums, or exposed root surfaces), then avoid using the same eating utensils or dental hygiene products.

How dangerous is untreated gum disease?

We mentioned that gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss, which it accomplishes by destroying the gum tissue and jawbone that support your teeth. Several studies have also shown that the mechanisms behind gum disease, such as excessive inflammation, are also a significant risk factor for other chronic inflammatory illnesses, including heart disease.

How do you prevent gum disease?

Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day is the most effective method of controlling gum disease-causing bacteria on a daily basis. The good news is that even if your gums are infected, swollen, and angry-looking, you may still have a chance of preventing gum disease. The earliest stage of the disease, known as gingivitis, is a warning, and includes the visible symptoms of redness, swelling, and bleeding. Attending a dental checkup and cleaning every six months, or as soon as you notice that your gums are troubled, can increase your chances of reversing gum disease in its earliest stages and preventing the destruction it can cause.

Protect Your Smile from Gum Disease with Help from Your Allen Periodontist

For more information, or to seek professional treatment for existing gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cueva by calling our Allen periodontist’s office at (972) 390-9944 today. Located in the 75013 area, we proudly welcome patients from Allen, Plano, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, Fairview, Murphy, Wylie, Lewisville, Carrolton, and surrounding communities.