Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is a serious infection of the gums, which help hold the teeth in place. In the early stages, gum disease is typically painless, and many people are unfortunately unaware of it. Many factors can cause gum disease. However, it's primarily the result of poor oral hygiene, resulting in the accumulation of bacteria, mucus, and other particles, which lead to the formation of plaque. Without treatment, gum disease can destroy the jaw bone that supports your teeth, causing the teeth to loosen or even fall out.
The Signs of Gum Disease
Knowing and learning to recognize the signs of gum disease are important for early detection and treatment. The sooner gum disease is dealt with, the better the outcome usually is.
Healthy gum tissues are firm and snug-fitting around the teeth. Symptoms of gum disease to watch out for can include the following:
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Bright red, dark red, or dark purple gums
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed easily, such as when flossing
- A toothbrush that appears pink after brushing your teeth (due to bleeding gums)
- Spitting out apparent blood while brushing or flossing your teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Bad breath that won't go away
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- Developing new spaces between your teeth that look like black triangles
- Gums that move away from the teeth, making them appear longer than normal, called receding gums
- A change in the way your teeth or jaws fit together when biting down
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis, usually once every six months, can help ensure that you decrease your risk of gum disease and its resulting complications. Your dental hygienist and dentist will assess the health of your gums and teeth and make any care or treatment recommendations during your appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gum Disease
How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque. The good news is that the build-up of plaque can be prevented by routine, frequent, and proper brushing and flossing. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, like not smoking and maintaining a good diet, is also essential. Other steps you can take to help prevent gum disease include the following:
- Using mouthwash to reduce plaque formation
- Scheduling regular checkups with your dentists
What are the Different Treatments for Gum Disease?
Treatment for gum diseases depends on the extent of damage to the gums, other tissues, and bone. Milder forms of gum disease may be treated by deep cleaning procedures like curettage. However, gum disease that has caused severe bone loss may need to be treated with flap surgery and bone grafts. Your dentist will recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your condition.
Let Integrated Dentistry Help You Prevent Gum Disease
At Integrated Dentistry, we are your partners in whole-mouth health. We can help you take the necessary steps to prevent gum disease and other dental problems. If you do develop gum disease, we are here to diagnose and treat it in the best ways possible. Give our office a call at 479-333-1300 to schedule an appointment today and learn more about the many services we offer.