Gum disease is one of the most common oral health diseases and affects almost half of adults over the age of 30. What’s even more significant is that some don’t even know they have it. That’s why it’s so important to know the first signs and symptoms of gum disease, what causes gum disease, prevention tips, and your treatment options.
The Most Common Causes for Gum Disease
Gum disease doesn’t appear out of nowhere. At its most basic level, gum disease is a bacterial infection that harms your gums as well as the bones that support your teeth. It can eventually result in bone loss if left untreated. Gum disease is one of the most common types of oral health problems and My Family Dentistry is well-equipped to diagnose and treat the disease.
Gum disease is most often the result of plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that accumulates over time. It can actually build up quickly, which is why brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once per day after eating is so important for preventing it.
Gum disease is known as gingivitis in its early stages. However, it can progress into full periodontitis if not treated as soon as possible. From there, it can develop into advanced periodontitis. At this stage, your teeth, gums, and the bones that support them can begin to deteriorate, possibly resulting in the loss of teeth.
Early Signs of Gum Disease
The main sign of gum disease is inflammation. When plaque accumulates around the gumline, it results in irritation to alert you that something is wrong. This is the best time to see your doctor since they can create a treatment plan and even reverse the disease.
The early signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that bleed easily
- Shrunken gums that expose more of your teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath, even after brushing and flossing
These signs and symptoms don’t guarantee that you have gum disease. On the other hand, issues such as sensitivity, bleeding gums, and tooth loss are not normal. They indicate a serious problem that should be addressed immediately. Schedule an appointment with My Family Dentistry today if you have any of these symptoms and get your oral health back on track.
Gum Disease Prevention Tips for Busy Moms
Whether you’re a busy mom or just busy in general, sometimes taking proper care of yourself can fall by the wayside. Taking the proper steps to prevent gum disease is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to do than you may think.
Know the Signs of Gum Disease
Learn the signs of gum disease and be on the lookout for any that you may be developing. Remember that this can include symptoms such as receding gums, tooth loss, gums that bleed easily, as well as the others that we mentioned above.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene to Prevent Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is by following the same oral health advice you’ve been given your whole life. Make sure that you’re:
- Brushing for two minutes, twice per day
- Flossing at least once per day, preferably after meals
- Visiting your dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups
Brushing and flossing regularly will help prevent any major problems from occurring between dentist visits. Seeing your dentist regularly will help them catch any problems and treat them before they become major dental issues.
Focus On Nutrition
How we eat plays a huge role in our oral health. Make sure that you’re eating foods with plenty of vitamins A and C to help maintain good dental health. Avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners to help prevent tooth decay. You should also drink plenty of water to help wash your teeth clean between brushing and flossing.
What Kinds of Gum Disease Treatments Are Available?
There are multiple treatments for gum disease. Your dentist will talk to you about what treatment best suits your situation.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are a type of deep cleaning to help treat your gum disease. The procedure known as scaling involves scraping tartar (hardened plaque) from the gumline. Root planing removes any rough or damaged spots from the roots of your teeth where germs and unhealthy bacteria like to hide.
Medication for Gum Disease Treatment
This can include:
- Antimicrobial mouthwashes
- Antiseptic or antibiotic rinses and gels
- Oral antibiotics
Laser Periodontal Therapy™
Our preferred method of gum disease treatment, Laser Periodontal Therapy™ is a minimally-invasive treatment that doesn’t require sutures or scalpels. It may also result in a shorter healing time.
A gingivectomy may be necessary if deep cleaning and medications don’t do the trick. This treatment involves surgically removing and replacing the recessed gum tissue to prevent future tartar from forming below the gumline.
Sometimes gum disease has spread so far that even a gingivectomy won’t be enough. This is usually the result of significant tissue and bone loss. In this case, tissue regeneration may be able to reverse some of the damage and help your body heal using artificial membranes, bone and gum grafting, or other tissue-stimulating proteins.
While you can spot signs of gum disease and do what you can to prevent it on your own, your dentist is the best source for diagnosis and treatment. They will be able to come up with a plan based on your needs and how to achieve them.
Are you concerned about gum disease? Schedule an appointment today!
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.