By The DannaSmile


What do your gum numbers mean? |

On a recent visit to your dentist, you may recall the dental hygienist calling out numbers to an associate as they poked and prodded around your gum line. What does this all mean?

“The numbers indicate the space or depth between your teeth and gums,” says Jodi Danna, DDS of The DannaSmile dental practice, located just north of Dallas, Texas, in the suburb of Plano. “The greater the number, the greater the chance of periodontal disease.”

Gum disease or periodontal disease is a problem for many in the United States. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 47 percent of the U.S. adult population aged 30 years and older have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. In addition, almost two-thirds or 64% of adults over the age of 65 have moderate to severe forms of periodontal disease.

“In our office we are highly focused upon boosting the overall oral health of our patients,” states Dr. Danna. “If we find numbers in the higher ranges, it’s an indicator there may be a possible infection present or even bone loss, which, left untreated, may ultimately lead to tooth loss.”

“Tartar build-up and excessive plaque contribute to gum disease, hence higher “gum” numbers,” says Missy, a DannaSmile dental hygienist. “Our job is to not only do our very best in helping our patients have healthy, beautiful smiles with regular cleanings, but to also educate them on the very best ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums in between dental visits.”

Measured in millimeters,“gum” numbers range from 1mm to 5mm and above. The numbers 1 and 2 are typically considered to be in the safe and healthy zone, whereas anything measuring 3 and above warrants further attention.

Early detection and professional treatment of periodontal disease may not only help patients keep from losing their teeth, but may also help decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In one study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in 2011, it was shown that the risk of individuals having a heart attack or stroke was decreased with even just one professional dental cleaning done in their lives. The jury is still out as to whether poor oral health may cause heart disease, however many indicators are pointing in that direction.

*During the month of April, in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, DannaSmile is offering $25 Oral Cancer Screenings.

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