Most people who have gum disease are not even aware they have it. This silent disease usually begins painlessly, without any symptoms. It’s not surprising that the American Dental Association reports that nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.
What many don’t realize is that not only is gum disease bad for your teeth, but it is also bad for your overall health. There is more and more research linking unhealthy gums to an unhealthy body, including an increased risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
It is important that gum disease not be left untreated.
At Orange Grove Family Dentistry, we know how crucial healthy teeth and gums are to our patients’ overall health, and we believe patient education on periodontal disease is the most important weapon in fighting it.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Everyone has the potential to develop gum disease because everyone develops plaque on their teeth. Even the most diligent home care can't remove all plaque from the teeth and gums.
Plaque that is not removed turns into tartar, which is a hard substance that can only be removed using special dental tools. If the tartar is not removed, it can cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. This forms pockets, which cannot be treated with brushing and flossing at home.
Left alone, tartar will eventually start destroying the bones and tissues that are connected to your teeth. This will eventually cause bone loss and your teeth will begin to shift—and your teeth may even be lost with the most serious cases of gum disease.
Mild gum disease is known as gingivitis; periodontitis refers to the more advanced stages of the disease.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Poor dental hygiene can be one cause, but even those who brush and floss each day are at risk. All mouths contain bacteria, and your chances of developing gum disease can depend on how your body responds to that bacteria.
Genetics can be another factor, as can lifestyle choices such as smoking.
How Do You Know if You Have Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease is often a silent disease because symptoms are not always noticeable. Here is a list of possible signs:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding gums, particularly when brushing
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Teeth that look longer as gums recede
If you have any signs or symptoms, you should get to the dentist immediately.
What Is the Treatment for Periodontal Disease?
Treatment will depend on how severe the gum disease is. There are a number of different treatment options, including:
- More frequent visits to the dentist
- A course of antibiotics
- Laser treatment to reduce pocket sizes
- Surgery for the most advanced stages
Keep Your Gums Healthy to Avoid Periodontal Disease
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while for a professional cleaning, be sure to give us a call—especially if you are noticing any of the signs of gum disease. If you do have it, we can recommend a treatment plan to get your oral health back on track. Give us a call today!