Treating gum disease can be a tricky affair, especially when so many adults allow it to go on for months, even years, before seeking help. For Dr. Corbet Locke, a dentist in Waco TX who has more than 20 years of experience, it’s an unsettling trend and one he sees all too frequently. He compares it to washing your hands after using the restroom, only to discover that your fingers are bleeding for no apparent reason. What if it was your head, your eyes, or your ears? The sight of blood would compel most people to seek medical help right away. Why is it, then, that bleeding gums fail to sound the alarm?

You Can’t Always See It, But Gum Disease Is There

When you consider that approximately 70{dcbe0cd52ce35e2f156887e14605e24111ce99c14f01d3853732956d43020bdd} of the population has some degree of gum disease, you can’t help but wonder why it goes undetected so long. By that point the problem usually becomes so severe that it simply cannot be avoided, resulting in tooth or bone loss. Could this be because our gums aren’t out always on display to the same degree as our skin and other parts of our body? Possibly, according to a recent study by the American Dental Association. The study goes on to report that misconceptions about oral health and hygiene contribute to periodontal disease.

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss, Especially for Teeth and Gums

The ADA notes that misinformation about oral hygiene runs rampant among members of the general public. More than two-thirds of study participants believed that toothbrushes should be replaced twice yearly. Actually, cautions Dr. Locke, you should change your toothbrush after approximately three or four months. He also points out that while twice-yearly cleanings are the standard, there are exceptions that might warrant more frequent dental visits. For example, pregnancy, unusually high stress levels, and the presences of active gum disease all necessitate intensified care.

Given the consequences of unmanaged gum disease, “just a little blood” becomes something entirely more dangerous. The American Academy of Periodontology reports that adults with periodontal disease nearly double their risk of developing heart disease, which severely impacts the quantity and quality of your years. You become more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack as plaque builds up in your arteries.

If your gums appear red, swollen, or irritated, you may have gingivitis, a mild, early form of gum disease. You may notice a small amount of blood while brushing your teeth, often accompanied by tenderness to the touch. Prevention and early detection go a long way in maintaining health teeth and gums, so we advise you to contact our office if you notice these symptoms.

Questions about treatment for gum disease? For more information about our services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Corbet Locke, DDS, please call us at 254-776-4888. Our Waco, TX dentist office serves patients living in Hewitt, McGregor, Woodway, and surrounding communities.