Gum Disease Prevalence Surpasses Diabetes with Nearly 65 Million Affected

With one in every two adults age 30 and older suffering from periodontal disease (commonly referred to as gum disease), the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and its 8,300 members are calling for Americans to Love the Gums They’re With. Periodontal disease can lead to receding gums, bone damage, loss of teeth, and can increase the risk of other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Despite its prevalence, periodontal disease is hardly ever discussed, resulting in a lack of urgency for people to properly care for their gums. Simple steps like brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and receiving an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation from a periodontist can help detect and prevent gum disease.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that, if left untreated, may cause damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth,eventually leading to tooth loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64.7 million Americans are affected by periodontal disease. In addition to diabetes, periodontal disease has been linked to other chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.

The serious risks of periodontal disease upon an individual’s oral and physical well-being is a very serious – but often overlooked – health issue, which affects the patient's overall health.” said Miguel A. González Ascar, DMD MS. “With more Americans suffering from this disease than diabetes, the AAP created ‘Love the Gums You’re With’ to educate the public on the importance of prevention and early diagnosis of periodontal disease.”

Periodontal disease typically does not cause pain until it’s in an advanced stage, at which point much of the damage has been done and tooth support destroyed. To raise awareness and to help health consumers better understand periodontal disease, the AAP is teaming up with TV personality Chris Harrison to launch the Love the Gums You’re With educational effort. As host of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Harrison knows that first impressions are important in successful relationships.. Just as personal relationships thrive on daily attention and care, so does the relationship with your gums.

What Puerto Rico Patients Can Do

To aid in the prevention of periodontal disease, establishing good oral hygiene habits including brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and discussing gum health with a dental professional is highly recommended. To learn more, patients can take a brief quiz on perio.org to evaluate the current state of their gum health, learn the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, and receive tips on how to properly care for their gums. Each patient is unique, and a dental professional can make a referral to a periodontist — a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease — for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation and specialized periodontal treatment plan to help support a life-long commitment to healthy gums. You can find a Puerto Rico periodontist on perio.org, or contact Periodoncia e Implantes Dr. Miguel A. González Ascar.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that form plaque below the gum line. There are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in plaque, and brushing alone does not remove the bacteria that live below the gum line. Poor oral hygiene is one cause of periodontal disease, but smoking is also a significant risk factor in the development and progression of the disease. While periodontal disease is mostly preventable and treatable, the early warning signs can be painless, making it necessary for individuals to establish strong oral hygiene habits and to discuss their periodontal health with a dental professional. With an appropriate diagnosis, the damage from periodontal disease is reversible in many cases.

About the American Academy of Periodontology

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is the professional organization for periodontists – specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also dentistry’s experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. They receive three additional years of specialized training following dental school, and periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAP has 8,300 members worldwide. For more information, visit perio.org.

El Cepillado de Dientes y tu Salud Periodontal

La enfermedad periodontal (de las encías) es causada principalmente por la placa bacteriana.  Al esta acumularse entre los dientes y no ser removida, comienza a causar inflamación de las encías (Gingivitis).  Si esto no se controla, la misma puede progresar y ocasionar pérdida de hueso (Periodontitis).   La mejor forma para prevenir esta condición (La cual es la primera causa de pérdida de dientes en adultos) es en su hogar.  Hoy les incluyo que puede hacer usted en su casa para cuidar de sus dientes:

Cepillado de dientes:

El cepillar los dientes CORRECTAMENTE es nuestra primera defensa contra las enfermedades de las encías.  Se recomienda de 2 a 3 veces al día, principalmente por las mañanas para romper las películas bacterianas que se forman durante la noche (de ahí el mal aliento mañanero) y en la noche antes de acostarse a dormir para que no se altere el pH de la cavidad oral.

El cepillado de dientes debe ser con un cepillo suave o extra-suave, y NO se debe de hacer fuerza al cepillarse (en fin, no estamos limpiando ollas de arroz pegao’).  Es importante el cepillar todas las superficies de los dientes y la lengua.  Las encías deben ser estimuladas levemente con el cepillo pero nunca con demasiada fuerza.

En cuanto al tamaño del cepillo, evite utilizar cepillos grandes.  Los mismos tienen demasiada superficie que no hace contacto con su dentadura creando la falsa impresión que se cepillaron bien.  Cabeza Mediana es un tamaño ideal para la mayoría de las personas.

Recuerde la regla de tres: TRES veces al día por TRES minutos.  El cepillado de dientes debe durar al menos 3 minutos. ¿Cuanto tiempo le toma a usted?

Y por último, como bien le enseñaron desde pequeño: El cepillo de diente se coloca a 45º de los dientes, limpiando bien las superficies masticatorias y los interiores del diente utilizando movimientos cortos hacia delante y hacia atrás. (Haga click para que vea el vídeo)

Uso de Hilo Dental: De suma importancia el uso del hilo dental.  Se ha encontrado que es la forma más eficaz de mantener las áreas interproximales (entre los dientes) libre de placa y sarro.  Coloque hilo dental en su cartera o bolsillo y utilícelo luego de cada comida.  Para pacientes con “braces” o espacios entre los dientes, los cepillos interproximales son de gran ayuda.

Enjuagadores Bucales: Son un excelente complemento para combatir las bacterias y el mal aliento.  Existen enjuagadores con fluoruro para sensitividad, con o sin alcohol.  Se debe enjuagar al menos por 30 segundos con 15-30ml.  No debe de tomar agua luego de utilizar el enjuague.

Controlar Factores de Riesgo: Como se ha mencionado anteriormente, una dieta saludable y balanceada, alcohol en moderación, y dejar de fumar son algunas de las cosas que pueden ayudarlo a usted a tener una mejor salud oral.

Y por último, no se olvide de visitar a su dentista o periodoncista cada 6 meses.  En el caso de pacientes diabéticos o que hayan tenido enfermedad periodontal previa, las citas con su periodoncista deben ser CADA 3 meses.