Understanding & Preventing Gum Disease
The team at Regis Court Dental Associates is here to help prevent or manage gum disease. From treatment in our dental office, to showing you the correct ways to brush and floss your teeth, our team is dedicated to making sure your gums stay beautiful and healthy. If you're concerned about your gums, contact Regis Court Dental Associates and we'll check them out!
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) affects the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup, the dentist or hygienist will measure the depth of the shallow v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that, if not removed by regular, professional cleanings, can damage the gums.
Periodontal diseases involves the tissue just below the gum line, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, a pocket develops; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing, flossing and professional cleanings at regular intervals.
In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Tobacco (smoking or chewing)
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs,calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Fillings that have become defective
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, contact your dentist immediately:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one of the many reasons why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.