A senior dentistry lecturer in Britain has made the news this week by claiming that the negative effects of gum disease have been exaggerated, and that it won’t likely lead to tooth loss. There is some truth to what he says, but also important caveats to consider before you cancel your next dental appointment.

Claim 1: Gum Disease Is a Normal Part of Aging

The truth of this claim is that the risk of gum disease increases with age. It is normal for people to have to spend more time taking care of their teeth and gums, and being more worried about worsening gum disease as they get older.

However, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about gum disease. Tooth loss risk also increases with age, as do the risks of other health conditions associated with gum disease, such as heart disease. And we should remember that it could also be argued that it’s normal for people to die by the age of 35, but that doesn’t mean it’s desirable.

Claim 2: Bleeding Gums Don’t Mean Your Teeth Are at Risk

Red, swollen, and bleeding gums are at least symptoms of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. For some people, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that threatens your teeth. For others, the disease doesn’t seem to progress. We’re not entirely certain why, but we do know that preventing gingivitis makes it less likely that you will develop periodontitis.

Claim 3: Your Personal Hygiene Is the Most Important Part of Treating Gum Disease

This is very true. You clean your teeth every day. Your dentist may only have the opportunity to clean them every few months. Although your dentist can perform more thorough cleaning that will help protect your teeth and reverse the effects of gum disease, if you aren’t caring for your teeth, your dentist won’t be able to save them.

Claim 4: Periodontal Treatments Aren’t Helpful

This claim is completely false. If dental care didn’t make a difference in helping people preserve their teeth, income (which is correlated with access to a dentist) wouldn’t be correlated with tooth loss.

Although some of this dentists observations include important considerations, there are also some misleading statements included. It’s important to maintain skepticism when people make these kinds of claims.

If you are looking for an Orange County dentist to help you preserve your teeth, please contact Rice Dentistry in Irvine today.