What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (periodontal disease) begins when plaque, a sticky film that remains on teeth after eating, sleeping, or just going about your daily routine, is not properly removed. This plaque will eventually turn to tartar, which is the hardened form of plaque. Tartar can cause inflammation and pockets – areas around the tooth where the gums have been pulled away by the tartar. When bacteria get into these pockets they can cause pain, redness, inflammation and even bleeding.
Am I at Risk?
While there are many risk factors that contribute to gum disease, the following are some of the more common:
- Genetic Predisposition
- Hormonal Changes (in females)
- Smokeless Tobacco
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
While the above descriptions and risk factors are all a good gauge, signs and symptoms of periodontal disease can be best discovered by visiting the dentist regularly. Bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, pain while eating, sensitivity to hot and cold, loose teeth and receding gums are all common signs and symptoms of gum disease.
How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?
The best way to face periodontal disease head on is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Brushing at least twice daily with a dentist-approved fluoride toothpaste, flossing after meals, eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking or smokeless tobacco and scheduling regular dental checkups are some of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease from occurring. Gum disease starts with inflammation and if gone undetected or left untreated can lead to tooth and bone loss.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
There are many methods of treating and preventing the advancement of gum disease. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity and advancement of the disease. Treatment can include non-surgical removal of harmful pocket-forming bacterial plaque, antibiotic treatment, regenerative therapy or conventional surgical procedures, as well as dental implants. Treatment is carefully selected to match your specific needs.