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Prevent Gum Disease
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and the bone around your teeth. It's caused by bacteria that can live on your teeth and in the spaces between your teeth and gums. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. Losing teeth can be bad for your nutrition, speech, appearance, and overall health. But here's the good news—gum disease can be prevented and treated.
Recognizing the Signs
Like many diseases, the earlier you catch gum disease, the better your chances of successfully treating it. Look for these gum disease symptoms:
- Bad breath that won't go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Preventing Gum Disease
You and your dentist can work together as a team to help lower your gum disease risk. Be sure to get regular dental check-ups. And take good care of your teeth and eat a healthy diet.
At the dentist's office:
- Get regular exams and cleaning—these can help catch a problem before you need treatment. Your dentist will recommend how often you need to come in.
- If you have healthy gums, you'll probably need cleanings once or twice a year.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Schedule regular visits to your dentist.
- Don't smoke or use tobacco products or e-cigarettes (vape).
Treating Gum Disease
If you show signs of gum disease, your dentist will likely recommend a deep cleaning (also known as scaling and root planing, or periodontal maintenance).
A deep cleaning usually involves a few dental visits. Each appointment will focus on a different section of your mouth. Your dentist or hygienist may need to numb your mouth before the cleaning. You may also need medication afterwards to manage any pain and prevent infection.
Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your cleaning. If you're a Cigna HealthcareSM customer and need more information or have questions about your plan coverage, call the toll-free number on your Cigna Healthcare Dental ID card. A customer service representative is available to help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Facts about Gum Disease
- Nearly half of adults more than 30 years old have some form of gum disease.1
- The risk of gum disease increases with age—68% of adults older than 65 years old have it.2
- People with gum disease may be more likely to develop complications with heart disease or diabetes.2
- Women with gum disease may be more likely to go into preterm labor and deliver low birth weight babies.3
1 Medicine Net, https://www.medicinenet.com/, accessed July 22, 2021
2 Older Adult Oral Health, CDC, May 5, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older
3 Pregnancy and Oral Health, CDC, March 18, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/features/pregnancy-and-oral-health
This information is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult with your dentist for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations.
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The Cigna Group Information
Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna Healthcare name, logo, and other Cigna Healthcare marks are owned by The Cigna Group Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of The Cigna Group.
All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna Healthcare sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.