What is Gum Disease and How to Prevent it?

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Have you ever brushed your teeth, only to spit out blood? This can be an indication of the first sign of gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis. If your gums are bleeding easily during flossing, this might be gum disease too.

What is Gingivitis Actually?

Gingivitis the precursor to full out gum disease. When you have gingivitis, the tissues supporting your teeth become inflamed. It’s a very common disease that is often a result of poor dental hygiene. Although Gingivitis is a common condition, it varies in severity.

Gingivitis begins when leftover food you have eaten mixes with saliva and bacteria. This forms dental plaque which adheres to the surfaces of the teeth. If you don’t remove dental plaque by brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Only a professional cleaning can remove it.

How is Gum Disease Caused?

When you don’t have good oral hygiene tartar remains on your teeth and infects the gums. This is the primary cause of gum disease.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums is the primary cause of gum disease. But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Here are some of the most common risk factors:

How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?

If you suffer from:

  • Swollen gums red in color that bleed very easily
  • White spots on the gums
  • Mout odor
  • Gums that look like they are receding from the teeth.
  • Pus between gums
  • A change in the way partial dentures fit

You likely have gum disease.

What Happens if I Don’t Treat Gingivitis?

As gingivitis gets worse, several problems present. Gingivitis might advance to periodontitis, you may develop receding gums, deep pockets may form around the mouth that trap even more food, plague, and harmful substances.

As the periodontist develops, you might lose gum tissue or bone around the teeth. Worse yet, the teeth may become loose or fall out. This can happen slowly, or surprisingly quickly. It could have a harmful effect on one tooth or many.

It’s possible for you to have gingivitis or periodontitis and not realize it due to a lack of signs and symptoms. That’s why it’s important to regularly visit dentists near you who can assess your risk level for gum disease.

How Will My Dentist Diagnose Gum Disease?

Dentists may measure how deep the pockets are around all of your teeth during a checkup. Professionals might also take X-rays, indicators of the level of the underlying bone, and if any bone has been lost to the disease.

Dental professionals might also take a look at sensitive, or loose teeth. Finally, the gums themselves will be checked – a hygienist will look for bleeding, red, or otherwise swollen gums.

How Can I Treat Gum Disease?

First, you’ll want to figure out what is making you more susceptible to gum disease and eliminate it. Consider thoroughly taking care of your mouth with oral hygiene habits and regular cleanings.

If you know there are certain risk factors you deal with, like diabetes or smoking that might be contributing to your gum disease, these should be eliminated in order to reverse gingivitis. A dentist will remove any teeth plaque and tartar, and the patient can take it from there, either eliminating gum disease with good hygiene or by using a prescription mouth rinse that will target oral bacteria that cause gum disease.

If gingivitis has escalated to periodontal disease, and deep pockets have formed that are difficult to clean, you might need root planing and deep scaling to clean teeth that are surrounded by pockets. You might need surgical treatment to access all tooth surfaces so you can clean them more thoroughly. This treatment goes by the name “flap surgery” and can be mixed with a pocket-reduction surgery to make the areas around the teeth easier for you to clean.

Laser therapy is another treatment you might consider to increase gum health. During laser therapy, the gum pocket will be treated with a soft-tissue layer. This obliterates any harmful bacteria deep in your pockets, it will remove any unhealthy tissue and might stimulate healing.

Gum disease can start out as bleeding after you brush your teeth. If you don’t take care of the beginning stages of gingivitis, you can expect more complications. In this case, get to a dentist. It will be easier to prevent the progression of gum disease than to address it at an advanced stage.

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