WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
If you’ve ever found a pink tinge on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth, that may indicate you have gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can cause deterioration of the adjacent bone and tissues supporting your teeth. The infection is mainly due to the buildup of plaque or tartar, which contain bacteria that irritates the gumline.
GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTITIS
Gingivitis is a milder and earlier form of gum disease that is one of the more common conditions that afflict oral cavities. Patients with this condition have red and swollen gums that bleed easily. Fortunately, we can reverse this process by way of proper oral hygiene methods. For this reason, gingivitis doesn’t always progress.
Plaque that builds up and hardens becomes tartar. Tartar does more damage to teeth the longer it remains on them. If tartar is left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. At that stage, the tissues, gums, and bones supporting the teeth start to become destroyed. As this progresses, your teeth can loosen and can even be lost.
The American Academy of Periodontology has stated that almost half of all Americans at or about age 30 have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis.
SYMPTOMS OF GUM DISEASE
Gum disease usually doesn’t cause pain, making it difficult for a patient to detect until it reaches a more severe stage. Watch out for the following symptoms:
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Swelling, redness or sensitivity in the gums
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Teeth don’t align the way they used to
- Partial dentures fit differently
- Teeth shift or loosen
To prevent gum disease from progressing, you must remove plaque from your teeth every day. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, as flossing allows you to reach parts of your teeth that a toothbrush cannot.
When brushing, use a brush with soft bristles and toothpaste with plaque fighting properties. Also, make sure to come in for a professional cleaning at least two times every year.
RISK FACTORS FOR GUM DISEASE
Gum disease affects your overall health as well as your general health. Studies have indicated a connection between gum disease and systemic illnesses like diabetes and stroke. Gum disease can also make it harder to regulate your blood sugar, causing diabetes to worsen. Here are some other risk factors:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Malocclusion of teeth
- Poor dental hygiene
- Certain medications, such as cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, anti-epilepsy drugs, steroids and contraceptives
We see gum disease as an opportunity to take your dental health more seriously. Complications like this are the body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and we’re here to help you answer the wake-up call and take appropriate action.
Daily and thorough toothbrushing and flossing along with maintaining regular dental cleaning appointments are the time-tested methods of removing food particles and plaque, allowing you to prevent gum disease before it can start. Taking action to change your dental habits will improve the health and longevity of your teeth.
For more information, please contact our office at (631) 494-7483 or fill out our Appointment Request Form and a member of our team will be in contact with you to get started!