Healthy gums are part of a healthy smile. In fact, healthy gums are important to your overall health.
The staff at the office of Denise DiBona, DDS, in Red Bank, NJ, know how to help you keep your gums healthy.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition. The good news is that it’s mostly preventable. The bad news is that if left untreated it can cause tooth and bone loss and can be a factor for heart and lung disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease affects the tissues that support your teeth. It can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth and affect the bone that supports your teeth.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly, you can keep plaque at bay.
If plaque is not removed, it can form into tartar along the gumline. This can only be removed through a professional cleaning, in which we scrape the tartar off with a special tool.
Types Of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Sometimes that buildup is due to poor dental hygiene but it can also happen if your teeth are misaligned. Diabetes, as well as taking certain medications, can bring on gum disease.
You want to treat gum disease as soon as you can. Fixing gum disease is a lot less expensive and time-consuming than fixing the problems it causes later on.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. It’s usually characterized by gums that are red, swollen and bleed easily, but sometimes there’s no pain at all. Gingivitis is reversible.
When you don’t treat your gingivitis, it can develop into periodontitis, a condition with much more serious consequences. With periodontitis, plaque can spread and grow below your gumline, producing bacteria that can irritate the gums.
The body then turns against itself by producing an inflammatory response. The gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets. As the disease progresses, those pockets will deepen and become infected. The gum tissue and the underlying bone are eventually broken down and destroyed.
Here are some symptoms and signs of gum disease that you can keep an eye out for:
- Red, swollen, and tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact our office as soon as possible to seek treatment.
Preventing Gum Disease
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s easier (and less expensive) to do what you have to do to keep gum disease from happening in the first place than it is to treat it after the fact.
To prevent gum disease, here are some steps to follow:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss as directed.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Cut down or eliminate sugary and starchy foods from your diet. These can feed the bacteria that cause plaque on your teeth. Stick with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain regular dental appointments (every six months).
Gum Disease Treatment
It’s best to seek help for gum disease as soon as you notice there is a problem. By doing this, you can help us work to prevent bone deterioration and tooth loss from happening to you.
Even if you don’t have any outward symptoms, we can detect a problem during a routine examination. That’s why it’s important to see us twice a year.
We can do a few things to treat gum disease, including:
Routine Cleaning– A routine cleaning may be all you need if you’re in the early stages of gum disease. During a cleaning, we will rid your mouth and teeth of disease-causing bacteria. Early gum disease is reversible the earlier it is caught.
Deep Cleaning – If the gum disease is more advanced, we will do a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. This will remove the bacteria and buildup from underneath your gums, the parts of your mouth that we can’t reach in a routine cleaning.
The procedure itself is simple and painless and is typically effective for mild or moderate cases of gum disease.