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Gum Disease – What You Need to Know

May 21, 2014

Have you ever heard of “Gingivitis?” No?  How about “Gum Disease?” Yes, now that sounds familiar…right? It is all the same, gum disease, periodontal disease, and gingivitis. It is an ailment that damages the tissues, which surround and support our teeth. The end result of this disease tooth loss.  Gum disease needs immediate attention.

What causes gum disease?

The primary cause of gingivitis is plaque… the colorless, sticky film of bacteria which forms on teeth. Other factors that contribute to gingivitis include:

  • Lack of good oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing and flossing regularly, make it easy for gingivitis to develop.
  • Bad habits, such as smoking cigarettes, make it difficult for the gum tissue to heal itself.
  • Medications also affect oral health. Some medicines lessen the saliva flow that protects teeth and gum, causing plaque and gum disease to develop.
  • Illnesses such as HIV or Cancer that inhibit the immune system, may affect the condition of your gums. Further, individuals with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing infections, including cavities and gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes make gums sensitive, which makes it easy for gingivitis to develop.

What are the signs of gum disease?

In the early stages, gum disease has very few symptoms. In many individuals, gingivitis has progressed considerably before they seek proper treatment. The symptoms of this disease include:

  • Unusual red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing teeth
  • Persistent bad taste in the mouth or bad breath
  • Deep pocket formation between the teeth and the gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

You may still have some degree of gingivitis even if you do not notice any symptoms. For some individuals, gingivitis may affect only certain teeth, such as premolars and molars. Your dentist is the only qualified person who can identify and assess the progression of gingivitis.

How does your dentist diagnose gingivitis?

During the dental examination, your dentist or dental hygienist usually checks for the following things:

  • Gum firmness, swelling, bleeding and pocket depth (the deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Radiographs to identify bone loss
  • Movement of your teeth, their sensitivity and their alignment

How can your dentist treat gum disease?

Several goals entail gum disease treatment. They are:

  • Stimulate reattachment of healthy gums to teeth
  • Reduce the depth of pockets, swelling and the danger of infection
  • Inhibit disease progression

Different treatment options are available… they depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to the symptoms earlier and your overall health. The treatment options range from non-invasive therapies, such as a professional dental cleaning, scaling and root planing to surgical treatments, such as pocket reduction surgery, bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration and bone surgery.

How can you prevent gum disease?

With proper plaque control you can prevent gum disease. Proper plaque control includes professional dental cleaning at least twice a year and regular brushing and flossing. Brushing removes plaque from the teeth’s surface; flossing removes small food particles and plaque that are in between the teeth and from under the gum line. Mouth rinses can reduce bacteria growth that causes plaque and gingivitis.

Other health and routine changes that will reduce the risk, severity, as well as speed of gingivitis development include:

  • Maintain a balanced diet. Adequate nutrition enables your immune system to defend against infection.
  • Stop smoking. Use of tobacco is one of the major risk factors for development of gum disease. People who smoke are more likely to get gum disease than people who do not smoke. Besides, smoking cigarette lowers the chances of success of gum treatment.
  • Avoid teeth clenching and grinding. These actions put excessive pressure on the supporting tissues of the teeth, eventually damaging them.
  • Reduce stress. Stress makes it hard for your body’s immune system to defend against infection.

Despite following proper plaque control practices and making lifestyle changes, many people are still susceptible to gingivitis. It is always the best option to visit your dentist for regular check-ups, cleanings and treatments.

If you are in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, looking for an experienced dentist who can help treat gum disease, then Flenniken Family Dentistry is worth considering. Flenniken Family Dentistry, a group of amicable and experienced dentists in Pennsylvania, will provide excellent treatment for gingivitis. They even have laser dentistry and sedation dentistry options, which make gum disease treatment comfortable. Know more about gum disease and how Flenniken Family Dentistry helps treat gum disease, by contacting them at the following address.

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