By Michael W. Herndon, DDS

The famous singer/songwriter Stephen Stills had a hit with the song and the lyrics, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…” And wouldn’t you know it but years later the American Academy of Periodontology swapped the word “one” with “gums” and it became a campaign slogan to raise awareness of keeping your gums healthy: “Love the Gums You’re With.”

Gum disease is one of the most common diseases humans tend to get and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost half of American adults are suffering from this disease to some degree. We often call it the “Silent Epidemic” because it comes on slowly and there is little or no pain. The gums may or may not bleed, it takes a lot of bone loss to become aware that teeth are getting loose, and it’s not like it is on your forehead… but if it was!

To put it in perspective, consider this: A person that has advanced gum disease has inflammation in the gums around the teeth. If all of the areas of inflammation were added together it would be a lesion of concern almost as big as the palm of their hand! If that lesion was on the forehead, arm, leg, or rear end they would be running into the Emergency Room to get it diagnosed and treated, yelling, “Help Me!” But since gum disease is for the most part not painful, a person may not know they have it or to what degree.

Periodontal disease is very serious but it can be prevented and treated with professional care. Dentists with advanced training and experience in the treatment of gum disease should be consulted for evidence-based advice if you love your gums.

Remember, “Love the Gums You’re With!”