Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems among adults. If left untreated it can become irreversible and ultimately lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is easy to prevent and treat if caught early. It is vitally important to stay vigilant and keep up with your oral hygiene to ensure you’re in the clear.
What You Need to Know about Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. If not properly cleaned away the plaque on your teeth will harden into what is called tartar. This hardened substance will then trap bacteria along the gumline. The buildup of plaque and tartar will make it more difficult to brush and floss your teeth only giving the bacteria a better environment to grow.
Gum disease presents itself in two different stages. The first stage is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is the most common and the only reversible stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is easily treated when caught in time. In most cases, the first stage of gum disease presents with sore, swollen or bleeding gums. Call your dentist if you are experiencing these symptoms to be sure to stop gum disease in its tracks.
The second stage is called periodontitis. This stuff is the real deal. In this stage, the toxins from the bacteria will cause an inflammatory response. This response is the body’s attempt to kill the bacteria. Tissues and bone that support the teeth are destroyed in this process. The gums will then recede from the teeth creating pockets of space. The pockets will become infected and deepen only destroying more bone and tissue leaving your teeth unsupported. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and will have to be removed.
In most cases, it is easy to diagnose gum disease and get it under control before the worst of the symptoms set in. Keep yourself informed and contact your dentist if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Red and swollen gums along with mouth pain
- Bleeding gums when brushing, flossing or eating
- Receding gum line
- Loose or separating teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Pus present between gums and teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in your bite
There are many risk factors that increase your chances of developing gum disease. The biggest is simply oral hygiene. Gum disease is a result of plaque that has gotten out of hand. Plaque continually develops and coats the teeth. Because of this, it is important that oral hygiene be a daily routine. Even with impeccable hygiene, there is still a chance you may develop gum disease. Here are some other risk factors to keep in mind:
- Age exceeding 65
- Use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco
- Certain medications (talk to your pharmacist)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Poor nutrition/ obesity
As stated earlier, even though gum disease is among the most common dental problems it is also one of the easiest to prevent. Simple oral hygiene is the absolute best prevention. Make sure you are brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and making regular visits to the dentist for check-ups.
We at Eagle Rock Dental Care are here to help you stay on top of your dental health. If you are presenting symptoms or fall into some of the categories that increase your risk, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Make your appointment here or simply call one of our three offices.