February is Gum Disease Awareness Month! Top 5 Facts

February is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on one of the most common yet often overlooked oral health issues: gum disease.

At Matsumoto Orthodontics & Periodontics, we specialize in creating beautiful smiles – with a focus on both the gums and teeth. Dr. Matsumoto is dual-trained as an orthodontist and periodontist; he’s the only dual-trained specialist in the area, and one of only a few providers in the entire country!

It’s only right that we dive into the top five facts about gum disease and take his time to raise awareness about this disease:


Fact 1: Two in five U.S. adults have some form of gum disease!

Let’s start with a truth bomb: gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is more common than you may think. It’s one of the most prevalent oral health issues out there, with two out of every five U.S. adults having some form of gum disease.

Gum disease is commonly believed to only affect older adults, but research shows that gum disease has no age limit. Gum disease can develop as early as your childhood/teen years!
In its earliest stage (gingivitis), periodontal disease can cause the gums to bleed and swell and become sore or tender, and cause persistent bad breath. This is when gum disease should be addressed but is often ignored.

Be aware of the earliest signs of gum disease and take action as soon as you notice them.


Fact 2: Gum disease can cause irreparable damage if left untreated.

In its latest stage (advanced periodontitis), the disease can permanently damage your gums, teeth and jaw bone.

As disease-causing bacteria penetrates through the gums, down to the jaw bone, it starts to eat away at the bone, causing loose teeth and jaw bone loss. These conditions can require dental implants and/or bone grafting to replace missing teeth and increase bone mass.

It’s scary, but it’s true! It’s important to know how serious gum disease is and how essential early detection and intervention are.


Fact 3: Poor brushing and flossing habits are the main cause of gum disease.

Let’s move on to some better news: The main cause of gum disease is completely preventable.

Those daily mouth-cleaning habits that take less than six minutes total out of your day are fully capable of preventing gum disease from ever developing throughout your entire life. A consistent oral hygiene routine is crucial.

In the morning, brush your teeth for two minutes. At night, brush your teeth for another two minutes, then floss between each tooth. It’s that simple!


Fact 4: Gum disease can cause other diseases.

Gum disease doesn’t just wreak havoc on your mouth; it can damage your overall health too.
When periodontal disease is left untreated, harmful bacteria from the infected gums can enter your bloodstream, spreading to other parts of your body and triggering inflammation.

Research has linked gum disease to an increased risk of various systemic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body! Taking care of your oral health isn’t just about a bright smile; it’s crucial for safeguarding your overall well-being.


Fact 5: Gum disease is contagious.

Yes, you read that right! Gum disease is contagious. That doesn’t mean that you can contract gum disease simply by walking past someone who has gum disease. It means that if you kiss someone who has gum disease, share a drink or utensil with them, use their toothbrush (yikes) or come in close contact in any way, you are susceptible to developing gum disease as well.

Once the disease-causing bacteria find their way into another person’s mouth, they can start causing gum inflammation and eventually lead to gum disease if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained.


Prevention is better than treatment.

As you now know, the best way to deal with gum disease is to prevent it from developing in the first place. This means practicing good oral hygiene habits, like brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

It also means being mindful of other risk factors for gum disease, like smoking, hormonal changes, and certain medications. By taking proactive steps to keep your gums healthy, you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease and enjoy a lifetime of smiles.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Dr. Matsumoto and our experienced team are here to help you love your smile for a lifetime.

Request your complimentary consultation at our orthodontist office at Porters Neck in Wilmington, NC, today.

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