What is gum disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It affects the areas around the tooth like the gums and the jaw bone. Many Americans have gum disease without really knowing what it is. Gum disease has many causes; family history of oral issues or bone loss, cancer, diabetes, and poor oral hygiene are common causes of gum disease.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
One of the earliest symptoms of gum disease is gingivitis, or sore and bleeding gums. Other symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, pain when chewing, loose teeth, or plaque and tartar build up.
How does gum disease affect the rest of my body?
Gum disease is a systemic disease in that it can affect other areas of the body. The bacteria that cause gum disease are very nasty, and cause inflammation. Once the bacteria are in the blood stream, they can cause or exacerbate heart conditions or cause difficulties in pregnant women.
What is the treatment for gum disease?
The treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of the disease. For gingivitis (the early stages of the disease), a deep cleaning and continued in home cleaning can treat the disease and prevent any further issues. If the disease has reached a moderate level, gum infection therapy is required to clean deep in the pockets below the gum line where tooth loss has begun to occur, and subsequent visits over the course of several months to deep clean below the gum line. If the gum disease has progressed to a severe level and bone loss has reached excessive levels, we may recommend you visit a periodontist for treatment.
How can I help prevent gum disease?
The prevention of gum disease depends on the cause. If your gum disease is caused by genetic factors or other medical conditions (cancer or diabetes), prevention is difficult. If your gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene, it can be prevented by brushing your teeth three times a day, flossing at least once a day, and visiting our office twice a year.