January 18, 2016

As a periodontist in Springfield, MO, I feel compelled to take the opportunity of National Popcorn Day, January 19, to talk about gum disease. Maybe I’ll write about something more fun on Caramel Popcorn Day, April 7, and in October, when the entire month is National Popcorn Month! Okay, back to the topic at hand. It pains me to say so, but it’s possible that the snacks you enjoy on National Popcorn Day could end up hurting you later.

A Primer on Gum Disease

Which do you think causes more tooth loss, gum disease or cavities? For adults older than 35, the answer is gum disease. In fact, more than 75 percent of adults will experience it at some point. The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss your teeth, and to regularly visit your dentist for exams and cleanings. That said, you could do all of the above and still develop periodontal disease, but it’s more unlikely.

Where Popcorn Comes In

So you’re enjoying several handfuls of popcorn, and a kernel hull gets stuck. You struggle to get it out, and guess what? It won’t budge. “No problem,” think many people who later end up needing help. “I’ll leave this, and it’ll wash out sooner or later.” Except it digs in even farther beneath your gums. Before you know it, you’re experiencing tooth pain and possibly developing an abscess or infection. It’s not uncommon for people to need teeth extracted due to food that got stuck.

Other Factors Contributing to Gum Disease

To keep your teeth healthy, avoid tobacco, and clenching and grinding your teeth. Try eating foods low in sugar; the same goes for drinks. Floss and brush regularly to ensure that food does not get trapped in bad places.

Are you dealing with issues such as gum disease? I am Dr. Leo A. Tokarczyk, a periodontist in Springfield, MO, and I’d be happy to help. Give my office a call at 417-882-1440 or email info@springfieldperioimplants.com.




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