The 101 on Gum Disease and How to Treat it
When left unmanaged, gum disease can be a serious problem. Characterized by tenderness, bleeding gums, swelling at the gum line, and redness, gum disease is a top dental concern for most people.
Many wonder what causes it, what treatments can be done for it, and what steps they can take at home to prevent the issue altogether. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep yourself free of this painful condition and treatment options for those that are already suffering.
What conditions lead to gum disease?
Generally speaking, poor oral hygiene and habits such as smoking are often found to be the cause of gum disease. However, there are some other potential contributing factors. Pregnant women or women who are dealing with other hormonal changes, for example, may be more likely to develop gum disease. Heart health has also been linked to this gum condition.
A strict oral regimen
Like any other oral condition, gum disease can be prevented by maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine at home. People who do not clean their teeth well are putting themselves at risk of getting cavities and making themselves far more susceptible to gum disease. Flossing, brushing several times a day, and a healthy diet can all lower the risk for gum disease.
What truly makes oral hygiene important is the fact that a buildup of food residue on the teeth can turn into plaque and tartar, which leads to erosion of the teeth and irritation of the gums. When gums become irritated by this food buildup, it can cause infection, resulting in gum disease.
Regular dental checkups
In order to ensure that the mouth is in a healthy state, it is vital that patients make dental appointments regularly. Cleanings and checkups should be performed at least once or twice a year. Fluoride treatments can be administered even more often than that. Adult patients can receive these fluoride treatments as much as four times a year.
Regular dentist visits can prevent serious dental issues in the long run. Having plaque removed early on can prevent the gums from becoming infected and inflamed. These visits also enable dentists to catch issues early so they don’t become more serious later on.
What are the treatment options?
Patients that are unable to prevent gum disease may be eligible for one of the following techniques:
Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning of teeth below the gum line)
Laser treatments to eradicate bacteria from the gaps between the gum tissue and the teeth
Soft tissue-friendly gels and toothpastes that are developed by PerioSciences
In more advanced cases of gum disease, surgical intervention might be the most effective approach.
What is the takeaway?
It goes without saying that gum disease is not an issue to be taken lightly. If left untreated, it can lead to serious oral health issues. Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeing the dentist regularly can minimize the risk of developing this problem. As always, consulting with an experienced dentist is recommended for optimal care.