Understanding the Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Adults

Having healthy teeth is an important part of overall good health. A great smile does not only improve physical appearance. It also helps you speak properly and of course, help you chew your food properly. For this, toothache should not be taken for granted. Pain in a tooth is a sure sign that there’s something wrong, most especially when your gums are swelling or bleeding. Teeth problem may also come with age like the periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or pyorrhea, causes inflammation of the gums and deterioration of the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth. It is often the main cause of bad breath in adults. It is also responsible for most of the teeth lost as people age.

As a matter of fact, a research study from the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that almost 64 percent of adults 65 years and above have moderate to severe forms of periodontitis. Findings from the same study have shown that more than 47 percent of the adult population in the U.S. who are 30 years and above suffer from mild to moderate or severe periodontitis. And between men and women, periodontitis tends to be more prevalent among men.

Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes a person has such minor symptoms that he or she may not realize that periodontal disease is present. As the disease progresses, symptoms include pain, bleeding of gums, swollen gums, and a foul taste in the mouth.

The Primary Cause Of Periodontal Disease

The main culprit behind developing periodontitis is the buildup of dental plaque, which is a thin film of bacteria that sticks to the gum line of the teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it can cause the tissues and bone to break down, leading to tooth loss.

Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Disease

As recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), periodontal disease in adults can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular dental care such as brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.

When visiting the dentist for regular checkups, the clinical examination must also include a periodontal assessment, particularly among middle-aged and elderly. To accurately assess the burden of periodontitis, using a full-mouth periodontal exams (FMPE), which was also cited in the CDC study, proves to gain better results.

It is also important to discuss with your dentist the risk factors that may possibly lead to periodontitis. Reputable dentists would definitely evaluate patients for oral diseases and would provide helpful solutions to prevent them or refer appropriate therapy when there is a need.

For severe cases, the disease can be treated by specialized plaque removal techniques and also by surgery on the gums and bones in the mouth.

If you are currently looking for Dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today!

What to Do If Your Gums Are Bleeding

Bleeding gums can be caused by a variety of reasons. It can be as simple as changing up your oral hygiene habits or as serious as gum disease.

Whatever the reason may be for bleeding gums, you have to take note of your problem and be extra attentive to other warning signs which may indicate a larger problem.

Here’s what to do if your gums are bleeding.

Pay extra attention to your oral hygiene

One of the leading cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque, especially along the gum line. When you fail to remove plaque, it can harden and turn into tartar which can attach to your teeth and irritate your gums. Eventually, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to bleeding gums and progress to gum disease.

In order to promptly remove plaque, you need to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.

Paying extra attention to oral hygiene can often stop bleeding of the gums.

Check your toothbrush

Some people mistakenly believe that toothbrushes with medium to hard bristles are better at cleaning the teeth. However, hard bristles can irritate the gums and cause gum bleeding.

But apart from checking your toothbrush, you may also have to evaluate the way you brush and floss your teeth. If you have been brushing and flossing your teeth vigorously, you can cause your gums to bleed.

Eat healthy

Another thing that you should check is your diet. If you have been consuming foods high in sugar and carbohydrates lately, you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to dental problems. The reason behind this is that sugar found in these foods help create the right environment for the bacteria which cause plaque.

Consider changing up your diet and minimizing or totally eliminating foods loaded with sugars and carbohydrates. If it is not possible to eliminate these from your diet, eat these foods sparingly and make sure that you brush your teeth as soon as possible.

Talk to your doctor about your medication

Some medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) can increase your risk for gum bleeding.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can thin the blood and can cause gum bleeding. On the other hand, if you suspect that the medicine prescribed by your doctor is the main culprit, schedule a visit. He may either change the dosage or prescribe a different medicine.

Visit a professional

If none of these actions improved your condition, you will need to see a dentist.

Your dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums and determine if the underlying cause is a serious condition like gum disease.

Treatment for gum disease can be as simple as deep cleaning or as complex as gum surgery. Either way, visiting your dentist as soon as you can will help prevent your bleeding gums from progressing into something worse.

What Does Gum Bleeding Around One Tooth Mean?

Bleeding gums are one of the most common conditions that affect people. But what if the bleeding is confined to just one tooth? What does gum bleeding around one tooth mean?

If the bleeding or swelling is confined around one tooth, there are a few reasons behind that. The most common causes of this dental problem are improper brushing and/or flossing, gum disease, and an abscessed tooth.

Improper brushing and flossing

Simply brushing and flossing your teeth won’t be enough. You also need to do these vital tasks regularly and properly.

If the bleeding is confined around one tooth, it is possible that you have not been brushing or flossing in the correct manner. This will lead to your teeth and gums not being cleaned the way they should be and food debris being left on your teeth.

In turn, this can cause both decay and inflammation in the areas that have not been properly cleaned. Gum disease can also become a problem as a result of this.

Check your gums. If these are swollen or red, if there is pus coming out from the affected tooth, if your gums bleed after brushing, or if you have been experiencing bad breath and taste lately, you will need to visit your dentist.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of bleeding and swollen gums. In fact, according to some studies, about half of the adult American population 30 years old and above are affected by gum disease in varying degrees.

One of the initial signs of gum disease is the swelling and reddening of the gums. If you notice these symptoms, you have to consult your dentist to prevent your conditioning from worsening.

Abscessed tooth

Another leading cause of swelling and bleeding around one tooth is an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth is an indication of an infection of a tooth. This often occurs when a cavity is left untreated and the bacteria that caused the decay spread in the different parts of the tooth and infect it.

Apart from redness and swelling of the gums, other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling of the jaw, tenderness or soreness on the affected tooth, throbbing pain, fever, and a salty taste in the mouth.

In order to treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to contain the infection. Your dentist may also recommend a root canal treatment or tooth extraction, depending on the severity of the condition.

Preventing bleeding and swollen gums

The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be over stressed. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and properly can help prevent a diverse array of teeth and gum problems.

It is also of utmost importance that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and to identify and treat potential problems before these worsen.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today.

Oral Health – The Beginning of Gum Disease

oral health
Understanding the Importance of Oral Health

Gum disease is an umbrella term that refers to different types of diseases which ultimately lead to gum inflammation or gingivitis, destruction of the periodontal ligament, loss of supporting bone mass, and (if left untreated) tooth loss.

Almost anyone with poor oral hygiene can succumb to gingivitis. However, only 10 percent to 15 percent of people will go on to suffer from advanced periodontal disease and tooth loss. Of this number, 70 percent develop chronic gum disease while the rest tend to develop different forms of the disease.

When Does Gum Disease Begin?

But when does gum disease begin? A landmark study carried out by Danish Professor Harold Loe provides a deep insight on the beginning of gum disease.

In 1965, Loe conducted a series of clinical studies involving dental students who had healthy teeth and gums. The dental students who participated in the studies were asked to stop performing all good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing, for three weeks.

During this three-week period, the dental students all developed gingivitis. During Loe’s analysis, he discovered that the dental plaque of the participants changed and became more complex. After ending the studies, the students’ gum health returned to normal as they went back to their good oral hygiene habits.

What this series of studies indicates is that oral hygiene, or the lack thereof, has a direct correlation to gum health

What Causes Gum Disease

In order to better understand this concept, it is worthwhile to think of your mouth as an ecosystem inhabited both by good and bad bacteria. And like any ecosystem, a fine balance should be maintained. Under good circumstances, the bacteria pose little harm to your oral health, and some can even be beneficial. But if the balance in the ecosystem is disturbed, oral health problems, including gum disease, may arise.

According to experts, there are 600 types of bacteria that can be found in the mouth. Of this number, about 400 have been identified. Apart from that, the bacteria that cause gum disease may account for a small segment of this number but they can wreak serious havoc on your oral health.

The bacteria that cause diseases often grow in number when these are not disturbed through brushing and flossing. In turn, this leads to gum disease as the bad bacteria move into the periodontal pockets which surround the teeth. When these bacteria move into the periodontal pockets, they can be difficult to remove.


Types of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

The Two Main Types of Periodontal Disease

If you have been experiencing symptoms like red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, increased teeth sensitivity, receding gums or teeth that appear to be longer, and bad breath that does not seem to go away, it is highly likely that you have periodontal disease.

Periodontal or gum disease can range from gum inflammation to serious damage to the tissues and bones that support the teeth. The disease is prevalent among people between 30 and 40 years old. Among the two sexes, men are deemed to be more likely to get gum disease.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

The disease is caused by the bacteria in the mouth. These microorganisms produce a sticky and colorless substance known as plaque. Through proper oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, plaque can be removed from the mouth. However, if you have poor oral hygiene, plaque remains in the mouth and then hardens into tartar, which can be difficult to remove by brushing alone. In order to remove tartar from your teeth, you will need to see a dentist for professional cleaning.

Who Is At Risk?

Apart from those who have poor oral hygiene, there are some groups that are considered to be at higher risk for contracting gum disease. These include smokers, diabetics, patients who are taking medications that dry the mouth, and those who suffer from diseases like AIDS. There are also some patients who are genetically predisposed to have gum disease.

Gum disease can be broadly categorized into two types:


Gingivitis is the milder of the two and can be harder for people to detect because they experience little to no discomfort. This type of gum disease often occurs due to poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, through proper oral hygiene and professional dental care, this type of gum disease can be cured.


Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced form of gingivitis. Gingivitis progresses to periodontitis when the plaque spreads and grows toward the gum line and below it. The bacteria then produces toxins which irritate the gums and facilitate a chronic inflammatory response from the body. Eventually, the continued production of toxins and inflammation leads to the destruction of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Patients who suffer from periodontitis also have noticeable gaps or pockets between the gum tissue and teeth.

Periodontitis can be classified further into a variety of types, the most common of which are aggressive periodontitis, chronic periodontitis and necrotizing periodontal disease. Sometimes, periodontitis may be a symptom of a more serious condition, especially when it occurs at a young age. Such conditions include heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease.

As you may have learned from school during Dental Awareness Month, it is crucial to practice good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing as well as paying regular visits to the dentist can help keep dental problems like gum disease at bay.