Common Myths About Gum Disease

Gum disease is very common. Some research shows that as much as half or more than half of adult Americans have some form of gum disease. Below we dispel some of the common myths people have surrounding gum disease.

Myth: The only way to develop gum disease is due to poor oral hygiene.

Periodontal disease is mainly caused by bacteria that are found in dental plaque. While poor oral hygiene is a big contributor to gum disease, it is not the only risk factor. Other factors that contribute to the development of gum disease include genetics, medications, smoking, stress, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes.

Myth: Tooth loss from periodontal disease is inevitable so I should get used to the idea of dentures.

Tooth loss is not inevitable. Dr. Nemeth’s main goal is to help people keep their natural teeth for their entire lives. While periodontal disease is not curable, it IS treatable, especially if it is treated in its early stages. In cases where the periodontal disease has progressed so far that the supporting tissue and bone around the tooth has been destroyed and the tooth is lost, a dental implant can replace the missing tooth for a comfortable, natural look and feel.

Myth: My gums aren’t bleeding so I know I don’t have gum disease.

Bleeding gums are often a warning sign of gum disease. If you have bleeding gums, it is recommended that you visit a periodontist to find out if it is in fact gum disease that is causing your gums to bleed. In which case, it is important to have it treated as early as possible to help prevent further problems and even tooth loss. Bleeding gums are not the only warning sign of gum disease, though. Other symptoms include red, swollen, or tender gums, receding gums, loose teeth, sores in the mouth, etc. Sometimes gum disease does not present any symptoms at all and many people don’t even know they have it; so even though your gums may not be bleeding doesn’t mean that you are in the clear from gum disease.

Myth: My friend has bad breath so I should assume that he has gum disease.

Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a symptom of a serious underlying problem such as periodontal disease. In many cases, people can have bad breath without also having periodontal disease. There are many other factors that can contribute to bad breath including sinus infection, acid reflux, diabetes, dry mouth, medications, food, and poor oral hygiene.

Myth: Gum disease treatment is very painful.

Gum disease treatment does not necessarily equal pain. In fact, options for treating gum disease are less invasive than ever before. A procedure called the LANAP uses an FDA-cleared laser protocol to treat gum disease safely and effectively with minimal discomfort and downtime. This laser treatment uses light energy to destroy harmful bacteria that cause gum disease while keeping the healthy tissue unharmed. The primary goal of the LANAP procedure is to control gum disease in order to save and restore healthy teeth that may have otherwise needed to be extracted.