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Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is a major part of overall oral health. Many people associate it only with tobacco use, but its causes and reach are more and greater than you might think. Here are three things you need to know about gum disease.

It’s more common than you think. The CDC estimates that half of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on our teeth. Initial gum disease, or gingivitis, is usually a painless infection, so many people do not realize they have a problem. Your first line of defense is effective and thorough brushing and flossing. If left unchecked, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. This can lead to tissue and bone loss and eventually tooth loss.

It is treatable, but not always reversible. While gum disease is a serious matter, it is highly treatable, at least initially. Early signs include red, swollen gums that bleed easily. At this stage, gum disease is reversible, so call our Sandston, Virginia, office at 804-737-4444 right away to schedule a cleaning if you experience these symptoms. When gum disease becomes more advanced, however, damage can often not be undone, so keeping up on regular cleanings is essential.

Some people are at higher risk. Some groups of people who have a higher susceptibility to gum disease are those with diabetes and pregnant women. Diabetes affects how a person’s body processes sugar, and poor blood sugar control heightens one’s risk for gum disease. Pregnant women sometimes develop “pregnancy gingivitis,” brought on by hormonal changes. Special vigilance in dental hygiene is even more important if you are at heightened risk.

Please give Drs. E. Alexander White & Bradford R. Thweatt a call to establish a cleaning regimen today. Gum disease can be serious, but is preventable with effective hygiene habits.