Oral and Overall Health
Myth: Gum disease is just a part of growing older.
Fact: You can prevent gum disease — it does not have to be a part of getting older.
Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums and surrounding tissues that hold teeth in place. Gum disease develops when plaque — a sticky film of bacteria — is allowed to build up along and under the gum line.
The two forms of gum disease are:
The good news is that gum disease can be prevented. It does not have to be a part of growing older. With thorough brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings by a dentist, you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease as you age.
And if you have been treated for gum disease, sticking to a proper oral hygiene routine and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings can minimize the chances it will come back.
Here are some things you can do:
If you smoke, you are at higher risk for developing periodontitis than a nonsmoker. In fact, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease.
Smoking can also lower the chances that treatment for periodontitis will be successful and can lengthen the time it takes for treatments to work.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse
1 NOHIC Way
Bethesda, Maryland 20892–3500
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