Many adults suffer from gum or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a condition that is caused by the infection of the gums. This infection can lead to many severe and minor problems. As time progresses, gum disease can even cause tooth loss and facial deformities as the underlying jaw bone is resorbed into the body. Periodontal disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria on our teeth called plaque. Plaque constantly forms on our teeth, and you must remove it through brushing or other means in order to keep your oral health in top condition.
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease isn’t something that just suddenly happens overnight. There is generally a trend toward your diagnosis. If you recognize some of the initial warning signs, it may be possible to change the trend and avoid periodontal disease, or at least some of the more serious side effects.
Some of the possible initial symptoms of periodontal disease include:
• Swollen or irritated gums
• Easily bleeding gums
• Gums that are pulling away or receding down the tooth
• Constant bad breath or a foul taste
• Loose permanent teeth
• A change in your bite pattern
• A change in the fit of partial dentures or bridges.
If you have any of these conditions, it is worth scheduling an appointment with our dentist immediately. Our dentist may be able to stop the infection and keep changes from continuing to diminish your oral health.
While everybody has the potential to have periodontal disease, certain factors place patients at higher risk of developing periodontal disease. These include:
• Poor oral health
• Chewing tobacco
• Crooked or gapped teeth that are difficult to clean
• Certain medications including birth control
• Genetic factors
• Gender (Women are more likely to contract periodontal disease than men)
Treating Gum Disease
Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to help reduce your risk or the effects of periodontal disease. While following better oral hygiene doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get gum disease, it is certainly one of the most significant factors in avoiding it.
• Brush your teeth twice daily – Brushing your teeth helps to remove the plaque that causes gum disease in the first place. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Many electronic toothbrushes come pre-programmed for two minutes. If you do not use an electric toothbrush, you may consider an egg timer.
• Floss your teeth – Flossing your teeth helps to remove any of the plaque or leftover particles that brushing missed between the teeth. You should floss once a day to keep the interdental space clean.
• Get regular checkups – You should visit our dentist every six months. This helps to ensure that any issues that you are having can be caught early on, and also allows our dental hygienist to remove buildups of bacteria from your teeth and give you a clean bill of health.
• Quit smoking – Smoking or tobacco use are major factors in the development of gum disease. If you need help to stop smoking or using tobacco, talk to our dentist. They can help with your cessation options.
• Review your prescription medications – If you have gum disease, it may be worth discussing your current prescriptions with our dentist and family doctor. You may be able to find alternative medicines that don’t also leave you vulnerable to gum disease.
Studies show that almost half of adults over the age of 30 have periodontal disease. Dentists are well - versed in dealing with gum disease and its ramifications. If you believe that you might have periodontal disease or know that you have some of the warning signs, contact us immediately and schedule an appointment today.