According to the American Academy of Periodontology, oral health problems also can be related Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of cancer. Sometimes a dentist can detect a problem during a routine checkup before the symptoms become apparent to you or your physician.
The academy reported that even though approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease – from mild cases of gingivitis, to the more severe form known as periodontitis – only about three percent seek treatment for their gum disease.
Forty-eight percent of lower-income Americans (i.e., those who report household incomes of less than $20,000), according to one study, said they had not seen a dentist in the previous year. Further, one in eight Americans reports having difficulty with normal daily activities because of problems with his or her mouth, teeth and gums, according to the study, and half of Americans said they were currently experiencing one or more oral health conditions.
Dentistry experts say people should pay attention to these factors:
-Bleeding gums: It’s not healthy if your gums are bleeding while you brush or floss. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease and you should schedule visit with your dentist.
-Flossing: Many people believe daily flossing is not essential; in fact, only 13.5 percent of Americans floss each day. But recommended routine maintenance requires you floss at least once a day.
-Pain: Periodontists are equipped with the latest treatments and technologies, using innovative tools such as digital radiography, ultrasound technology, biomarker measurement and laser therapy to help make your visit more comfortable.
-Tooth loss: A tooth lost to gum disease is not lost forever. Periodontists can place dental implants – an artificial tooth root placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth.
Community clinics and dental schools often offer low-cost options for those who put off going to the dentist because they lack health insurance. The academy also offers a free online risk assessment test.