By Dr. Wayne Aldredge
Studies show smiles can make us more attractive, lower our stress levels, elevate our moods, and make us look younger.
it’s important to be well and keep our teeth and gums smile-ready.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t. Nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults age 30
and older have periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease.
In adults 65 and older, that number spikes to 65 percent.
disease is not a disease that’s regularly discussed, despite the fact
it’s 2.5 times more prevalent than diabetes. And, a 2015 survey from the
American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) showed that 27 percent of U.S.
adults lie to their dentists about how often they floss their teeth,
with 15 percent saying they’d rather wash dirty dishes than floss. The
survey also found that a third of American adults say a smile is the
first thing they notice when meeting someone.
Here are some more fast facts about periodontal disease from the AAP:
There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, the mildest form, and periodontitis, which is advanced gum disease.
of periodontal disease include red and swollen gums, receding gums,
bleeding when flossing, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath.
Research has linked gum disease with several other diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
Gum disease can lead to social anxiety and discomfort from loss of teeth and bad breath
here’s the good news. There are dental experts out there who can help
treat gum disease—periodontists. Periodontists specialize in the
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and they
receive three additional years of training after dental school. With our
skillset, periodontists know why it’s important to keep your gums
healthy to be able to chew and smile forever.
twice a day, flossing regularly, and receiving an annual comprehensive
periodontal evaluation will help keep your gums—and your
smile—spectacular. There are also non-surgical therapies or more
advanced procedures, such as dental implant placement, available if
Taking care of your gums
shouldn’t be an afterthought. That’s why the AAP has launched the Love
The Gums You’re With educational campaign and Gumblr, a new website that
helps you find a local periodontist and offers information about gum
disease, features interactive quizzes, and much more. Check it out at
Because spectacular smiles
start with healthy gums, and the gums you have are yours for life, it’s
crucial that you Love The Gums You’re With.
Wayne Aldredge is President of the American Academy of Periodontology.
He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Northeastern Society of
Periodontists—the largest regional periodontal society in the United
States—and a former President of the New Jersey Society of