There is insufficient awareness regarding the widespread impact of periodontal disease in young adults. This is mostly due to the fact that its first symptoms go often unnoticed, as they are very subtle and can easily be ignored. However, unless treated correctly, periodontal disease evolves into a chronic and extremely pervasive problem and, in its final stages, leads to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease (commonly referred to as gum disease) affects millions of people worldwide, most of whom are not aware of the condition because of its very faint symptoms, or no symptoms at all.
Periodontal disease in young adults – just as in children – is triggered by the build-up of plaque. It is easy to understand how the leading cause of periodontal disease is a poor or improper dental hygiene, for example neglecting to brush and floss every day and after each meal. Such behaviour creates the perfect environment for plaque, which begins to accumulate and leads to the inflammation of the gums around the base of the teeth.
What happens next? Gums start to bleed even without particular solicitation, teeth begin to move, dental infections become more common, and halitosis turns into a chronic problem, as plaque and bacteria keep festering inside the mouth.
There are also further, additional factors that increase the risk of developing periodontal disease in young adults:
- Smoking reduces the strength of our immune system, hence affects its ability to fight off bacteria
- An unhealthy diet and high intake of sugary foods and drinks significantly increase tooth decay
- Substance abuse damages our teeth and gums
- Lack of periodic check-ups at the dentist delays or prevents any timely intervention
Youngsters and young adults should always keep in mind that poorly or insufficient dental care can lead to periodontal disease, and that gum disease germs can be contagious and infect others via the exchange of saliva, or even sharing toothbrushes, eating utensils, straws or anything that comes in direct contact with saliva; kissing is no exception!
Finally, young adults should also take into consideration additional risk factors, which, unlike the aforementioned, cannot be controlled:
- Hormonal changes, especially in girls
- A family history of gum disease
- Side effects of medications or medical treatments
- Autoimmune diseases
Prevention and proper treatment are crucial in avoiding periodontal disease and should not be underrated or ignored.
Start taking care of your mouth today. Ask for a professional consultation to receive an accurate assessment of your oral health, and keep your smile white and healthy.