Gum disease is sometimes referred to as periodontal disease or simply periodontitis, and it begins with a concentration of bacteria in the mouth, usually around the gum line. If not treated, it may end with tooth loss because of the damage it causes to tissue that surrounds the teeth. Gum disease starts out as gum inflammation, and when this is identified it should be treated immediately so it doesn’t worsen into gum disease.
The most noticeable symptoms of gum disease are the following:
- receding gums
- persistent bad breath or a bad taste lingering in the mouth
- formation of pockets between teeth and gums
- bleeding gums after brushing
- gums which are red and swollen
- loose or shifting teeth.
The most obvious cause of these two issues is poor oral hygiene habits such as irregular brushing and flossing. Illnesses can also affect the gums and cause disease to begin. Sometimes there are hormonal changes such as during puberty or pregnancy which promote gum disease. Bad habits like smoking can also contribute to gum disease, and some medications can cause saliva to dry up, promoting gum disease.
You should see your dentist whenever you observe one or more of the symptoms listed above. You should be prepared during your visit to discuss the possibilities of how gum disease may have formed, because identifying the cause will be important so as to prevent a recurrence.
In addition to the causes listed above, it is also possible that your family medical history involves exposure to gum disease. In some cases, this causes a predisposition to gum disease in family members, and the hereditary traits may then be passed on.
The objective of treating gum disease is to re-establish healthy gums which attach cleanly to teeth again, and eliminate any pockets which may have formed. To do this, your dentist will identify how far the disease has progressed, so the appropriate form of treatment can be administered. In earlier stages, it may be possible to adopt measures which will control bacterial growth, and when the disease has progressed to a more mature phase, it may be necessary to adopt a surgical solution.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to initiate good oral hygiene practices at home, consisting of twice-a-day brushing and flossing. In addition, all six-month dental appointments should be kept, so that plaque and tartar can be removed in a thorough cleaning.
If you don’t already have a six-month appointment on your calendar, you should contact us at Ammons Dental by Design, so we can make sure you don’t have any buildup of plaque or tartar. If you’ve been experiencing bleeding or swollen gums, you should make a special appointment so this can be checked out. Don’t let any of the symptoms of gum disease go untreated, because it can cause gum disease to get a foothold, and cause some real damage to your teeth and gums.