Gum disease is prevalent among Americans, yet many people don’t realize that they have this dangerous disease. Gum disease that is left unchecked can cause tooth decay and eventually the loss of teeth, and connections have been made between gum disease and other health problems like diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. Understanding gum disease is the first step to fighting it in your life.
Q: What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is usually caused by poor oral hygiene which allows plaque to build up on teeth. Eventually the bacteria-infested plaque will move below the gum line and cause the inflammation and infection of the gums that marks onset of gum disease. The bacteria will also begin to eat away at the tissues and bones that hold teeth in place, causing them to eventually fall out. Some medications, illnesses, and hormonal changes can also contribute to the development of gum disease.
Q: How do you know if you have gum disease?
Swollen, tender gums are often one of the first signs of gum disease. This can lead to bleeding even while gently brushing teeth and even a reddening of the gums. A receding gum line can also be a sign of gum disease as can the development of pockets in the gums. Loose or shifting teeth or a change in your bite can occur when gum disease has begun to take its toll. Another symptom many people don’t realize is recurring bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
Q: How can gum disease be treated?
The traditional treatment for gum disease is a surgical procedure called scaling and planing which removes diseased tissues and the plaque that has been causing the problem. Some dentists are offering new techniques that utilize laser technology for advanced cases and antibiotics or homeopathic treatments that can be applied topically for effective results in the early stages of gum disease.
Don’t wait until gum disease gets the better of your teeth. Make sure you keep up proper dental care and visit your dentist often for check-ups and deep cleanings to keep your gums and teeth healthy.