Hello Friends!

Today’s topic isn’t a glamorous one, but important nonetheless.  Your gums are the foundation and cornerstone to your overall oral health and it’s imperative that you care for them.  Gums protect and support your teeth and the tissue that holds them to the bone. When they aren’t healthy, you risk tooth loss and damage to your overall health.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “gum disease”, but what is it?  What does it mean if you’ve been diagnosed with it?  Is it really that big of a deal?  WebMD featured an informative article on the topic and we’ve included some of that information below.gingivitis-symptoms

How Gum Disease Happens

It “usually starts in areas that you’re not brushing or keeping clean,” says Mark Ryder, DMD, chair of periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. “Bacteria build up in a film on your teeth and you get a reaction to that bacteria — inflammation.”

Swelling of the gums (also known as gingivitis), can be one of the first signs of gum disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Gum redness
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose teeth
  • Constant bad breath
  • Mouth sores

Pain isn’t one of the first symptoms of gingivitis.

“What’s unique about early gum disease is that it doesn’t cause much discomfort at all,” Ryder says. “So you really have to pay attention to these other symptoms.”

Gum problems can get worse if you don’t get gingivitis treated.

“Infection and inflammation will spread deeper into the tissues that support the tooth,” Ryder says. “When that happens, the inflammation becomes destructive.”

The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, which lets in more bacteria. At this stage, gum disease is called periodontitis.

That condition “causes the tissues and bone that support the teeth to break down,” Ryder says.

This creates pockets where bacteria can grow.

“As you lose bone, your teeth get looser and looser, and eventually, they fall out,” he says.

What’s more, oral health affects your whole body. People with gum disease are more likely to get heart disease and are less able to control their blood sugar, studies show.

The CDC found that 47% of adults older than 30 have periodontitis. After age 65, that number goes up to 70%.

Your odds of getting gum disease are higher if you:

  • Use tobacco products
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high stress
  • Grind or clench your teeth

Some birth control, antidepressants, and heart medicines may also raise your risk. Tell your dentist about any medications you take regularly.

“Stop smoking, manage diabetes correctly, and if you’re pregnant, think about visiting the dentist more often during your pregnancy,” Ryder says.

How to Treat Gum Disease

Your dentist will remove the root cause: plaque on your teeth.

“The dentist would clean around all the affected areas, and really go down to the bottom of the pocket of the tooth, because that’s where the most harmful bacteria is,” Ryder says. This deep-cleaning process is called scaling.

Other causes will also be explored, like loose fillings or crowns. Your dentist may take X-rays to check for bone loss. You might need surgery if the disease is severe or doesn’t get better with time. You might visit a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in gum disease.

Tips to Manage Gum Disease

To keep it at bay, you should:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Clean between the teeth, with floss or another cleaning tool.
  • Swish twice daily with antiseptic mouth rinse.
  • See your dentist regularly.

 

It seems like common sense, but so often people underestimate the importance of maintaining their teeth and gums.  Oral health is often overlooked, especially if there is no pain involved.  But as is so often the case a little prevention can prevent a lot of trouble later.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have any concerns about your oral health, contact your dental professional.

 

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we would be happy to help.  Contact our office at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.

 

Yours in Good Dental Health:)

Brunner Prast Family Dental

 

***The above information is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or disease.  If you have any concerns please contact a dental professional.

 

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