Gum disease doesn’t get mentioned quite as much as tooth decay. But throughout your lifetime, there’s a high chance that you’ll develop some form of gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease will get worse, and its effects can devastate your oral health.
Also known as “periodontal disease,” gum disease is a condition that’s easily prevented. And, if caught soon enough, it’s also easy to treat.
Gum disease is more than just sore gums; even the mildest symptoms should not be ignored.
Here’s what you need to know about gum disease, including the symptoms and causes and how it’s treated and prevented.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Like tooth decay, gum disease is caused by plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth and gums. It’s made up of bacteria that feed on sugars and starches in your food and drink. Once the bacteria has fed, it produces acid that erodes the enamel that coats your teeth.
If plaque isn’t removed through thorough daily cleaning, it will harden and become tartar. Eventually, it will irritate and inflame the gums. Finally, tartar will affect the bones that support your teeth.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are two stages to gum disease. The first stage is gingivitis. This only affects your gums and will cause bleeding and discomfort.
Left untreated, gingivitis will become periodontitis. In its mildest form, pockets of tartar appear in the gums, and inflammation occurs. At this stage, it’s still possible to reverse the effects with treatment from your dentist.
Advanced periodontitis affects the jaw as well as the gums. Once the disease reaches this stage, you’ll experience loose teeth that may fall out.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The symptoms of gum disease vary depending on how advanced it is in your case. Signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen and tender gums
- Gums that bleed during brushing
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Pain while eating
- Loose teeth
How Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
The treatment for gum disease depends on how far it has progressed. With gingivitis, improving your oral hygiene routine is the best course of action.
This means thoroughly brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes at a time. Use fluoride toothpaste while brushing. Flossing and using mouthwash can also be helpful.
A regular visit to the dental hygienist will improve your gum health. Using a scale and polish treatment, we can remove the tartar along the bottoms of your teeth causing gum disease.
Antibiotics and deep cleaning under your gums with a treatment called root planing may be necessary when the plaque and tartar build-up is heavy.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
The great news about gum disease is that it’s easily avoided. The best way to avoid developing gum disease is to practice excellent oral hygiene.
You should also visit us for a check-up twice a year. This helps us identify gum disease early so that action can be taken.
Limiting the sugary sweets and drinks you consume will help reduce the risk of gum disease, as too will stopping smoking and vaping.
Gum Disease Prevention at SmilesMore
Preventing gum disease is always easier than treating it. If you’re worried that you might have some of the symptoms or just want to ensure you remain gum disease-free, call us today to arrange a check-up or hygiene appointment.