Gum Disease and How to Prevent it
Gum disease is a serious disease that affects the tissue of the gums. It is estimated that as many as 47 % of adults over the age of 30 are affected by gum disease in the United States. This is a condition that is completely preventable with proper oral hygiene and dental care.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue that holds teeth in place and protects the bone the jaw. It can lead to a loss of the tissue and bone that support a healthy smile, putting your teeth in jeopardy. There are several warning signs that you may be suffering from gum disease. These signs include:
- Gums that bleed easily when you are brushing or flossing your teeth
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bad breath or a consistent bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
- Dull or sharp pain when chewing food
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
Every day plaque, a sticky colorless film, forms over the surface of our teeth. If this plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing the teeth it can turn into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed through brushing and flossing alone but must be removed by a trained dental professional during a thorough cleaning.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be prevented through proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing. Use of an antibacterial toothpaste or oral rinse will also help to remove plaque. Removing plaque is key to overall gum and oral health.
There are three stages of gum disease.
1. This is the initial stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is largely characterized by inflammation in the gums caused by a buildup of plaque. Your gums may be red and swollen, or you may notice some bleeding when brushing and/or flossing. Gum disease may still be reversed if treated during this stage.
2. Once a patient reaches periodontitis, the damage to bone and gum structures may be irreversible and must be treated. Pockets form below the gum line, causing the tooth to separate from the connective tissue holding it in place. Proper dental care from a professional and thorough oral hygiene can prevent periodontitis from advancing to a more critical stage.
3. Advanced Periodontitis. As gum disease progresses the fibers of the teeth, gums, and connective tissue which hold your teeth in place are being destroyed by infection. You may notice loose or shifting teeth, a change in your bite, or that your ability to chew is affected. Teeth may need to be extracted by your dentist if they cannot be salvaged at this stage.
If you suspect you might have gum disease, you should schedule a consultation with our Cincinnati dentist at Hardin Advanced Dentistry as soon as possible. In the earliest stages of gum disease, the condition can be completely reversible with proper care and treatment.
Why choose Dr. Hardin?
Dr. Tara Hardin is accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and has extensive experience treating the various forms of gum disease. She constantly stays up-to-date on the latest treatments for teeth, gums, and oral health, as new treatments and technologies are developed. With her help, you can be on the road to a healthy smile.