Today I was interviewed by Reverend Roland Colwell of the Burnette Inspirational Ministry on Warren in Detroit for his public access cable show, "Talking With Caldwell". The subject of the interview was dental and oral health as it relates to dental care and dentistry. (I also had the opportunity to attend their Sunday morning service and meet some wonderful people!) During the interview, Reverend Colwell asked me about the signs of gum disease and it was apparent that the public has been poorly informed by the dental profession about this important topic. I have chosen to make this the subject of this blog.
Bleeding gums are the most obvious sign of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis). By the time you notice that your gums are bleeding , the disease may already have been present for some time. It is not unusual for us to hear, “My gums have always bled like this,” but treatment is not sought because it is considered "normal". However if our eyes started to bleed when we washed our faces or our nail beds bled when we washed our hands we would most likely be alarmed and rush to seek medical treatment! Bleeding gums are neither normal or healthy. Luckily, in early stages (gingivitis) the disease is fairly easy to treat and is reversible. When the disease has progressed past the bleeding gum stage, you may notice some pain, gum recession, loosening of teeth, and bad breath. If you have ignored your bleeding gums (possibly the earliest sign of gum disease) because you think it is normal to have a little “pink” on your toothbrush, you will likely have additional symptoms and conditions associated with disease progression. At this point the bone and gum support for the teeth may be permanently damaged and left untreated you can loose your teeth. Tooth loss is not a sign of aging but is a preventible disease (pathology) . In addition to tooth loss, you cannot be healthy physically with an infected mouth. Gum disease is associated with diabetes, heart attack and strokes. (For more information see my blog of September 7th, 2008.)
Don’t wait for the warning signs of gum disease to occur before you schedule your dental examination or hygiene appointment. We are here to help you and welcome your comments and questions.
That’s all for today, and much thanks to Reverend Caldwell, Quentella Caldwell, and all the other nice folks I met today!
Until next time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD