While causes and symptoms like these are key to defining each condition, there are also numerous popular misconceptions the ADA suggests can mislead those who suffer. Have you assumed any of the following?
- "Gum disease is rare." Take comfort in knowing that it is, in fact, quite common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly half of adults 30 and older have experienced gum disease.
- "No cavities means no gum disease." Again, false. Gum disease is usually painless, so it's possible to have and not even realize it. Instead, look for visual signs of gum infection.
- "Bad breath indicates gum disease." Not necessarily. See your dentist if you suspect that your breath is severe enough to indicate this condition. If he gives your mouth an otherwise clean bill, your bad breath could be a sign of a medical issue.
- "Pregnant women can ignore bleeding gums." On the contrary, pay attention to it. While pregnancy can often cause blood to appear on gums and in the nose, according to Parents Magazine, not all women suffer from it. Knowing the signs that are unique to gingivitis will help you discern whether or not you can attribute it to pregnancy.
Still others resign themselves to the myth that it will lead to tooth loss. It can, but only if left untreated. Stellar oral health habits, such as daily brushing and flossing, healthy eating and regular dental checkups, is the best way to prevent it from reaching this point.
So, is gingivitis gum disease? All gingivitis is gum disease, but not all gum disease is gingivitis. Recognizing the symptoms and knowing proper treatment methods is the first step to curbing gingivitis' progression, and building a strong foundation for maintaining good oral health.