Fallacies About Gum Disease
Get the facts about this serious infection
to save your teeth and protect your health.
FALLACY: Tooth loss is a natural
part of aging.
FACT: With good oral hygiene and
regular professional care, your teeth are meant to last a
lifetime. However, if left
periodontal (gum)disease can lead
to tooth loss. It is the primary cause of tooth
loss in adults 35 and over.
FALLACY: People who have gum
disease are "dirty" and don't brush their teeth.
proves that up to 30% of the population may be
genetically susceptible to gum
disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits,
these people may be six times more likely to
develop periodontal disease. Identifying these
people with a genetic test before they even
show signs of the disease and getting them into
early interventive treatment may help them keep
their teeth for a lifetime.
FALLACY: Gum disease doesn't affect
research links periodontal disease to other
health problems including
heart and respiratory diseases; preterm, low
birthweight babies; stroke; osteoporosis; and
FALLACY: Gum disease is a minor
FACT: The mass of tissue in the
oral cavity is equivalent to the skin on your arm that extends
from the wrist to the elbow. If this area was red, swollen, and
infected, you would visit the doctor. Gum disease is not a
small infection. Its result, tooth loss, leads to a very
changes in your appearance, breath, and ability to chew food
FALLACY: Bleeding gums are
FACT: Bleeding gums are one of
signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue
as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time
you washed them, you would know something is wrong.
Other signs of gum disease include: red, swollen or
tender gums; sores in your mouth; gums that have pulled
away from the teeth; persistent bad breath; pus between
the teeth and gums (leaving bad breath); loose or
separating teeth; a change in the way the teeth fit
together; and a change in the fit of partial dentures.
FALLACY: Treatment for gum disease
periodontal procedures including
local anesthesia and over-the-counter
medications, have made patients' treatment
experiences pleasant and comfortable. Many
patients find they are back to normal routines
on the same day or by the next day.
FALLACY: Gum disease is easy to
identify, even in its early stages, so my dentist would tell me
if I had it.
FACT: Millions of people don't
know they have this serious infection that can lead to tooth
loss if not treated. You should always get involved in your
dental care, so that problems are detected in the early stages.
You should inform your dentist if any signs of gum disease are
present; or if any changes in your overall health or
medications occurred in between visits. Most importantly, you
should ask your dentist about your periodontal health and what
method was used to evaluate its condition. This level of
participation enables you to work in a team approach with your
dentist to identify subtle changes that may occur in the oral
FALLACY: Once teeth are lost, the
only treatment options are crowns, bridges or dentures.
implants are a
permanent tooth-replacement option for teeth
lost to trauma, injury or periodontal disease.
Dental implants are so natural-looking, and
feeling that many patients forget they ever
lost a tooth.
FALLACY: Cavities are the
number-one cause of tooth loss.
FACT: Periodontal disease is the
number-one cause of tooth loss. According to the 1996 American
Dental Association/Colgate survey,U.S.
dentists say gum disease is a more
pressing oral health concern than tooth decay by
FALLACY: Because gum disease is a
bacterial infection, antibiotics can be usedto treat
FACT: Research demonstrates that
antibiotics can be a helpful adjunct to treating periodontal
disease. However, medical and dental communities are concerned
about the overuse of these medications in treating infections
because of the possibility of the development of antibiotic
resistant strains of bacteria. This overuse would be
detrimental to patients if they develop a life-threatening
illness for which antibiotics would no longer be helpful.
FALLACY: Pregnant women should skip
professional dental checkups.
and gums are affected during
pregnancy like other
tissues in the body. In order to decrease the
risk of damaging the gums and tissues
surrounding the teeth, pregnant women should
schedule an appointment for a periodontal