Are you concerned about gum disease? If you answered no, then let us take a moment to tell you why this oral health condition should concern you. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease. With statistics this high, paying attention to your gums is essential for overall oral health and wellness. You can combat gum disease by regularly the caring and attentive dentists at Progressive Dental Arts and practicing proper oral hygiene.
Do You Know What Causes Gum Disease?
While there are a number of different risk factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing gum disease, the number one cause is a buildup of plaque. This sticky substance that adheres to the surface of teeth is actually a type of bacteria. In normal circumstances, plaque is eliminated by regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings. But, when the plaque is left alone and continues to build, it creates toxins that begin to harm the gums.
Signs of gum disease include:
• Red and swollen gums
• Gums that bleed easily
• Continual bad breath
• Pus between the gums and teeth
• Permanent teeth that have loosened or separated from the gums
• Changes in the way partial denture fit
• Changes in your bite
When detected in its early stages, gum disease can be treated and the condition is usually reversible. This is why we continuously stress the importance of regularly scheduled checkups with your dentist to be examined for early signs of what is known as gingivitis. This is the first stage of gum disease and is diagnosed by the dentist measuring the space between the gums and the teeth. Individuals with gum disease will typically have a noticeable gap.
Gingivitis, when left untreated, can rapidly develop into advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. This is a more severe form of gum disease that is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. At this stage, the gum and bone have usually been damaged beyond repair making tooth loss a real possibility.
Treatments for Gum Disease
If it is determined you have a form of periodontal disease, there are treatment options. These options include surgical and non-surgical solutions. For early stage gingivitis, we offer solutions such as root planing and scaling and at-home periodontal trays. These are non-surgical methods that are highly effective at counteracting the effects of the disease. However, in cases of periodontitis, it may be necessary to speak with your dentist about surgical options such as the following:
• Periodontal surgery
• Laser gum surgery
• Dental implants
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is an oral health condition that can be prevented. The key to prevention is developing good oral habits such as brushing regularly, visiting your dentist for six month checkups, flossing, and discussing certain factors with your dental provider that may put you at higher risk for developing periodontal disease. These risk factors include:
• Medications for epilepsy, calcium channel blockers, oral contraceptives, cancer therapy drugs
• Tobacco use
• Improperly fitted dental devices like bridges
If you are at a greater risk for developing periodontal disease, it is crucial that you develop a relationship with your dentist to do everything you can to maintain a healthy smile and prevent gum disease. Don’t forget that in addition to brushing and flossing regularly, eating a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can also do wonders for your oral health.
As the leading gum disease prevention dentists in Newark, DE, give us a call today to learn more about how you can protect your mouth from this degenerative condition.