Gum disease typically refers to gingivitis and periodontitis, which are gum infections that are both characterized by bleeding and swollen gums. Although gum disease is quite common, there are a number of myths about it that people often fall victim to believing, and this can increase your chances of developing gingivitis and periodontitis. To help dispel some of this misinformation, here’s what you need to know.
Myth 1: Gum Disease Is Rare and Not Serious Anyway
Gum disease affects nearly 50 percent of adults, and this means it’s actually quite common. However, just because gum disease is common doesn’t mean it’s not serious. Gingivitis and periodontitis, which are caused by bacteria present in the plaque that builds up on your teeth, can cause many unpleasant side effects—including the ones already mentioned—such as:
- Bad breath
- Pus between the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Tooth loss
- Sensitive teeth
Myth 2: I Don’t Have Cavities, so I Can’t Have Gum Disease
Some people think that cavities cause gum disease, but this simply isn’t the case. Cavities and gum disease are entirely separate issues, and cavities don’t cause gum disease. The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, so you can have gum disease without cavities.
Myth 3: It’s Normal for Gums to Bleed
Gingivitis and periodontitis symptoms include inflamed, red, bleeding, and tender gums, and it’s never normal for your gums to feel or look this way. If your gums bleed when you are brushing your teeth or eat, then it’s an indication you have gum disease and must see your dentist. Similarly, although it’s common for pregnant women to develop gingivitis, it isn’t something you should accept as normal, so book yourself in for a dental checkup.
Note: If your gums bleed when you floss, then it’s a sign you should floss more regularly.
How to Prevent Gum Disease with Good Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene isn’t the only cause of gum disease, because things like genetic factors and even medications can also increase your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis. However, bad dental hygiene habits are among the top causes of gum disease, so you can often prevent it by taking good care of your teeth, mouth, and gums. Here’s how:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
- Floss once a day
- Always brush your teeth right before bed
- Rinse your mouth after eating, especially if you’ve eaten sugary or acidic food
- Change your toothbrush every three to four months
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Go to the dentist once or twice each year for regular checkups and cleanings
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about gum disease, and knowing the facts from the myths can help you prevent problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. The most important things to remember are that gum disease is most often caused by poor oral hygiene, so you should always take care of your mouth with regular brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist.