Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, an estimated 42% of US adults over 30 have one or more teeth with gum disease. In about 7.8% of those cases, the condition is severe. Keep reading to learn a few important facts about gum disease and what you can do to ensure your oral health.
Facts About Gum Disease
Gum disease starts with bacteria. Without proper dental hygiene, plaque buildup – and the bacteria contained in it – starts to destroy the tissue and bone surrounding your teeth.
Gingivitis is the simplest form of gum disease. With gingivitis, your gums become inflamed, red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually minor discomfort at this stage, but you might not feel any pain or tenderness at all.
Untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. At this stage, plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Eventually, your teeth may become loose and have to be removed. Periodontitis can also cause abscesses and pain when performing normal actions, like eating, drinking, and speaking.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is a preventable and treatable condition, and carries many serious consequences. Therefore, it’s best to practice thorough oral hygiene. That includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Regular flossing
- Using an ADA-approved mouthwash
- Consistent dental checkups
Without prevention, even your physical health can suffer, as gum disease is also linked to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, pneumonia, and various forms of cancer.
Treating Gum Disease
However, you may need more advanced treatment to address your gum disease. Dr. Mullins at My Family Dentistry is licensed to practice Laser Periodontal Therapy™. This is a minimally invasive and painless treatment method. Without scalpels or sutures, he’s able to remove diseased gum tissue around the teeth without damaging any surrounding healthy tissue. Following this, other procedures – including root scaling – can take place to encourage healing and regeneration.
You’re likely to heal and recover more quickly than with traditional gum surgery with LPT. If you’ve been told you need treatment for gum disease but have been putting it off, contact us to discover how easy your treatment can be.
(This post was originally published on 2/4/2013. It has since been updated.)