Feeling off? Concerned about something you’re just noticing about your health? There’s a good chance you’re going to try to search for answers, or at least hints to what’s happening, on the internet.
Encyclopedia style health sites like WebMD or Healthline can be helpful when looking for general background information on health topics, including oral health topics. It’s dangerous, however, to assume they can tell you everything you need to know about any important health issue. Here are some really important things these sites can’t tell you about periodontal disease.
They Can’t Tell You if You Have Active Disease
That’s right. These medical sites can give you a list of common symptoms for gum disease. They can warn you about the dangers of bleeding gums, receding gums, red and swollen gums, or even changes to your bite and shifting teeth. They cannot, however, tell you if you are seeing clinical symptoms in your own mouth. Only your dentist can tell you if you are suffering from active gum disease. As WebMD and other sites say, they do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
They Can’t Tell You Which Treatment is Right for You
Just like they can’t diagnose you, these websites cannot treat your gums if you have gum disease. These sites can tell you what some of the common treatments are for gum disease, but can’t tell you which, if any of the treatments would be appropriate for you. You need to have an evaluation with your dentist for the appropriate steps to take to treat your specific periodontal disease.
They Can’t Tell You What Degree of Gum Disease You Have
Early-stage gum inflammation is called gingivitis. Periodontitis is advanced gum disease. You may be able to find a list of symptoms for both, but these websites can’t look in your mouth and tell you if you need help to treat either condition.
They Can’t Tell You Which Risk Factors You Can Control
These medical sites can tell you what the common risk factors are for developing gum disease, but they can’t tell you which risk factors are relevant to your oral health or what lifestyle changes you can make that will make the biggest difference in your oral health. Sure, you can read that gum disease is more common in men than women, but women still get gum disease. If you’ve never smoked, quitting smoking won’t help your health, since it’s not a factor to begin with.
The internet can help give you some general information, but it is no substitute for advice specific to you from your trusted dentist. Your dentist can assess your periodontal health, diagnose any disease, and offer treatment options best suited to your specific case. Your dentist can also recommend preventive care (like CariFree professional treatment products) that can keep you from developing periodontal disease in the first place.