Your teeth are not the only part of your mouth that you need to take care of. Your gums should be healthy too! With that in mind, we thought it would be best to talk about gum disease, or periodontal disease, what it is exactly, and how to help you prevent gum disease from forming in the first place.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line. It typically starts with gingivitis, and if left untreated it can progress to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. Both of these oral health issues can affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. Over time, this can lead to what is experienced as “loose teeth”.
This can take years to manifest, which is why it’s important to treat gum disease regularly and as early as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Be sure to bring these signs up with your dentist if you’ve noticed them while brushing or flossing your teeth:
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Receding gums (i.e. they’re moving away from the tooth)
- Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in spacing between your teeth
- Oversensitivity to hot or cold temperatures while eating or drinking
- Sharp or dull pain when chewing
- Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The bacteria in plaque (i.e. the sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth) can cause gum disease. When plaque is not removed through proper oral care, it can harden and turn into tartar (calculus) and the plaque can continue to build up on top of it. Once tartar is formed, a dentist needs to remove it through a cleaning; regular brushing, while it can help, cannot fully remove the plaque buildup.
Using antibacterial toothpaste and/or mouthwash will help kill harmful bacteria and keep the amount of plaque in your mouth to a minimum. Proper oral care including brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and regular dental cleanings are the key to removing any plaque buildup that may cause gum disease.
By seeing your dentist regularly, you can ensure that any early stage of gum disease will be treated before it leads to a bigger health risk.
Gum disease cannot be cured; it can only be managed. The issue is not just keeping your teeth, but rather keeping inflammation under control.
There is evidence linking inflammation as the underlying cause of many diseases. Keeping your oral cavity free of inflammation is now deemed to be essential in maintaining good overall health.
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