Should I be concerned about gum disease?

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Should I be concerned about gum disease?It may seem improbable for someone you know to have periodontal (gum) disease. However, the condition is quite common. In fact, the surgeon general reported that 80 percent of the adult population has some form of gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis. Combine this with alarming statistics on the effects of gum disease related to overall health, and you have a cause for concern.

Gum disease is a mixed oral infection affecting the supporting structures around the teeth. In its advanced stage, patients often report symptoms such as swelling, discomfort, shifting of teeth, or tooth mobility. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, cancer, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease, and wrinkly skin.

The diagnosis of gum disease must be determined by your dentist, who can carefully explore pockets of the gums with a periodontal probe. This tool measures the depth of pockets and tests for gum disease symptoms, such as bleeding.