Nearly 50% of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. You may also hear your dentist in Douglasville refer to gum disease as gingivitis. So what’s the difference between gum disease and gingivitis, and how can you tell if you have one or the other?
A Glance at Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, but it can also travel throughout your bloodstream and cause health problems in other areas of the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. There are actually three stages of gum disease including:
- Advanced Periodontitis
Each stage of gum disease progresses in severity, and the longer gum disease goes undetected and untreated, the more likely it is to lead to other problems.
Early Diagnosis Is Key
When gum disease is caught in its earliest stage, your dentist in Douglasville will probably diagnose it as gingivitis. During this first stage, gingivitis can be treated and any damage that may have occurred can often be reversed. If gingivitis isn’t treated early, it can progress into periodontitis, lead to tooth loss, and create complications in both oral and overall health.
Warning Signs of Gingivitis
Everyone should visit their dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings. These important dental visits can catch any problems, including gingivitis, early. But it’s also crucial to pay attention to any changes in your oral health in between these appointments. Some of the most common signs of gingivitis are:
- Bleeding gums (even when flossing!)
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Swollen, puffy, painful gums
- Receding gums
- Dark red gums
If you notice any of the early warning signs of gingivitis, call to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Who Can Get Gingivitis?
While anyone can get gingivitis, there are some things that can put someone at increased risk, such as:
- Tobacco use
- Crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Chronic dry mouth
- Hormonal changes
- Age — older people are more likely to develop gum disease than younger people
Prevent Gingivitis, Protect Your Health
The best way to protect yourself from developing gingivitis in the first place is to take excellent care of your teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. You can also reduce your risk of gingivitis by adopting certain lifestyle habits such as drinking plenty of water, avoiding tobacco products, and eating a well-balanced diet that contains limited sugars.
Any form of gum disease can seem scary, but if you catch it early treatment can be very successful. So if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, call your dentist in Douglasville to schedule a checkup today.
Even though your dentist in Douglasville is all about keeping your mouth healthy, the truth is, proper nutrition and good oral health go hand-in-hand. This is why, during this National Nutrition Month, we want to do our part to raise awareness of the importance of eating right.
On A Nutrition Mission
When it comes to nutrition and eating healthy, it can seem simple from the surface — don’t eat too much sugar, eat your vegetables, limit fast foods. But when taking a deeper look into what the experts recommend, it can get pretty complicated. After all, even the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) changed their recommendations twice since the Food Guide Pyramid was created in 1992. But healthcare professionals across the country, from dietitians to your dentist in Douglasville, are on a mission to make nutrition easier to understand.
The truth is, not all of us need the same things in the same quantities. Like many things, nutrition is individualized and is based on a number of factors such as age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and underlying health concerns. The best way to find out your nutritional needs is to go to MyPlate and customize the best mix of dietary recommendations for you.
Eat Well, Smile Happy
We all know that what we eat can affect our overall health and either increase or decrease our risk for certain diseases and health concerns. But your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that what you eat also affects your oral health. In fact, many of the types of foods that can negatively affect our overall health can do the same for our teeth and include:
- Sugary Sweets
- Fatty Foods
- Acidic Drinks
Foods or drinks that contain a lot of sugar, are high in carbs or fats, and foods and drinks that are acidic can damage tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed and at risk for decay.
The Hidden Sugar Effect
Many patients know that your dentist in Douglasville will caution people about the risks of sugary foods. However, a lot of us aren’t aware of why your dentist may also tell you to take it easy on the carbs. Even though high-carb foods don’t taste sweet, they have something called “the hidden sugar effect” which breaks carbs down into simple sugars and can affect your teeth in a similar way as sugar-packed sweets.
Foods For Teeth
When you’re planning your meals and snacks based on your MyPlate results, don’t forget to choose some foods that can help keep your teeth strong and decay-free. Some foods for teeth include:
- Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery
- Lean meats and fatty fish
During this National Nutrition Month, find your ideal balance of the major food groups and try to fit your individual recommendations in each and every day. Eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way in helping your body, and your mouth, stay healthy.