According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of American adults have periodontal disease. While alarming, the statistic is no surprise to dentists like Dr. Justin DeGarmo of Elizabethtown Dentistry. Justin DeGarmo treats numerous cases of gum disease and periodontal disease each year. He has made it his mission to educate patients about these issues in order to reduce their risk.
Dr. Justin DeGarmo explains gum disease, also known as gingivitis is the precursor to periodontal disease. It is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar which produce bacteria that inflames the gum tissue. This inflammation can progress to the point it causes the gums to bleed or recede, resulting in pockets where more bacteria can grow. If untreated, the condition can lead to an infection called periodontitis, a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
In its early stages, gum disease may present subtle symptoms, such as bad breath, reddened gums, or bleeding during brushing or flossing. As the disease progresses or an infection occurs (periodontitis), you may also notice a receding gum line, swelling, or tenderness, or a change in the way teeth fit together when you bite, Dr. Justin DeGarmo says. Eventually, tooth loss will likely occur if it is untreated.
The best way to prevent such conditions is to brush and floss regularly, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and receive dental cleanings and exams every six months. Stress, smoking, drinking alcohol, and a poor diet can increase your risk of gum disease, so lifestyle changes can help prevent it as well.
If you suspect you may have gum disease or periodontitis, it’s crucial to see your dentist right away. In the early stages, it is more easily treatable. In more advanced cases, surgery or implants may be necessary to repair the gum tissue or bone or tooth loss.
More on Dr. Justin DeGarmo
Dr. Justin DeGarmo received a B.S. in Health Sciences at Clemson University and D.M.D. degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Following dental school, Dr. Justin DeGarmo completed a one-year residency in St. Petersburg, FL, and earned certification for Advanced Education in General Dentistry through the University of Florida. During his residency, Dr. Justin DeGarmo trained at the Dawson Academy and earned his Fellowship from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Dr. Justin DeGarmo is a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and the North Carolina Dental Association. Justin DeGarmo is a founding member of the Southeastern Prosthodontic Study Club.