Periodontal (gum) disease is the infection of the tissues around your teeth. While the early stages of gum disease can be treated with a good clean from your dentist’s office, later stages can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. Because the spreading of gum disease results in serious issues like tooth loss, prevention and early detection are key.
What is Gum Disease?
The basics of understanding gum disease can be broken down into three phases:
- First: Gum disease is caused by the bacteria, mucus and plaque found in our mouths. When these particles are left on our teeth, it results in the formation of a harder “tartar.” This tartar is harder to remove from the surface of our teeth and needs a thorough cleaning from the dentist’s office to completely remove.
- Next: when tartar is left on the teeth for long periods of time, it becomes increasingly more harmful, leading to gingivitis (a more mild form of gum disease) or periodontitis (when gums start to pull away from the teeth and become infected).
- Last: when periodontitis is not treated, the bones and tissues that support the teeth are weakened. Because of this, gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss for adults, according to the American Dental Association.
Who Gets Gum Disease?
If you think you have gum disease, you’re not alone! The Centers for Disease and Prevention has stated more than half of adults over the age of 30 has suffered from a form of gum disease. While gum disease is common, some people may be more prone to the disease. Those who are more prone to have gum disease are:
- Pregnant women
- People with crooked teeth
- Smokers or tobacco chewers
- Adults and children with consistent poor oral health
- Adults and children who are on medications like steroids or anti-epilepsy drugs
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Because so many people have suffered from gum disease, the symptoms may not always be obvious. Some of the symptoms may also be the result of other dental problems. That being said, if you have any of the following symptoms, it’s best to schedule a visit to your dentist:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Receding gum line
SEE ALSO: How To Brush Your Teeth
Gum Disease Treatments
Prevention and detecting gum disease early are the most important factors in treating gum disease, which is why visiting the dentist is important. As gum disease progresses, it’s harder to fight. When the hard tartar forms on teeth, brushing with your everyday toothbrush won’t do the trick. A deep clean from the dentist will be needed to effectively clean above and below the gum line. Medications and surgery may also be necessary depending on how far along your gum disease has become.
Visit Your Dentist, Today!
If you believe you may have gum disease, visit your local dentist for an exam and deep cleaning. Dr. Larry Duffield is a general and cosmetic dentist who can help with all your gum disease questions and treatments at his Royal Oak office. Contact Dr. Duffield today at 877-630-7410 to schedule an appointment.