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Gum Disease: More Yucky Than You Realize

Frank C. Stone, DDS Gum Disease 1 Each and every day, over 500 unique types of gross germs are happy and comfortable living in your mouth. And that’s just KINDS of bacteria. Given that each kind can consist of well over 100,000 bacteria, you can understand why many dentists say that your mouth has more bacterial residents than there are people in the city of New York. And, just like New York City, they NEVER sleep. They only do two things: chow down on food left in your teeth and make more bacteria.

In reality, there is one more thing the germs do and that’s what causes all the problems. They excrete waste product. That bacteria is toxic to your teeth and gums.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria excrement that constantly builds up on your teeth. The bacteria’s excrement (plaque) has chemical compounds that attack your teeth and your gum tissue.

Gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is very common in adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss. Research shows that over 75% of Americans age 35 and over have some form of gum disease as a result of medications, diet, or lack of adequate dental hygiene care.

Common symptoms of gum disease are:
     • bleeding gums after brushing
     • bright red color to gums
     • sores on the gums
     • inflamed gums
     • bad breath (halitosis)

With regular professional cleanings and a quality at-home oral hygiene routine, the plaque can be removed and gum disease can be prevented. In addition, gum disease’s damages to teeth and gums are also very simple to fix when caught early by our hygienists.

Our hygienists provide gentle, thorough cleanings that take off the plaque build-up that at-home brushing misses. They also provide education and instruction on how to get rid of the most plaque possible at home.

Recent studies have shown an association between gum disease and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight and diabetes. Because gum disease can have an adverse effect on your over-all health, Dr. Stone strongly suggests getting professional cleanings at least every six months.

Gum disease is deceptively painless in the early stages, so you may not know you have it. Add to that the fact that gum disease is nearly impossible for the patient to self-diagnose and it becomes obvious why you need to see us regularly. At each checkup, Dr. Stone and a hygienist will take depth measurements of the v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your teeth and gums to diagnose if you have gum disease.

Gum disease attacks at the connection of your teeth and gum line in the sulcus, where it breaks down the connective tissues. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket. In fact, pockets can get so deep that your tooth is no longer attached to your gums or jawbone. And, that’s when they fall out.

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