More than 75 % of U.S. adults over 35 have some form of gum disease (or periodontal disease). Most who have the beginning stage of this disease don't even know it.
The most severe version of gum disease is known as periodontitis. A less severe version is known as gingivitis. In many cases gingivitis is a precursor to periodontitis so all forms of gum disease should be seen as serious and not neglected. This disease is serious enough to be called the "silent epidemic" by former Surgeon General, David Satcher. It is also known as the "busy person's disease" because people with very busy schedules often neglect their oral hygiene. It can be scary to hear that you have gum disease. Many people become embarrassed when they are told they have gum disease because they feel they have not paid enough attention to their oral hygiene; however, studies show that many adults lose ground even when they brush and floss regularly. A well-known phrase for growing older is growing "long in the tooth." This phrase obviously indicates that it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep good oral hygiene for an entire lifetime.
When the symptoms become severe, with gums bleeding and teeth becoming loose, we tend to start paying attention. Unfortunately this level of belated intervention is now at the crisis level and can cause serious bone, tissue, and tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up. Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, and more to make a accurate diagnosis.
Link Between Oral and Overall Health
Periodontal Disease is a chronic bacterial infection that attacks the gums and bone supporting the teeth, which is the most prevalent dental disease affecting adults. Periodontal Disease affects 3 out of 4 people at some stage of life, increases in severity with age, and is an indicator or potential case of several serious medical problems. Microbiological and clinical research has established links betweeen periodontal disease and several serious health conditions including the following:
Heart Disease or Stroke - You may have an increased risk if you have Periodontal Disease.
Respiratory Infections - Pneumonia bacteria colonize in plaque and then can aspirate to the lungs causing serious infection.
Osteoporosis - Periodontal bateria commonly found in the bloodsteam of patients can contribute to speed and overall boneloss.
Pregnancy - Periodontal Disease can cause low birth weight and possible preterm labor.
Diabetes - Periodontal Disease is considered to be the 6th complication of diabetes by doctors. Periodontal Disease found to increase the severity of diabetes.