Gum disease is a common but serious dental issue. In fact, it can lead to a variety of oral health problems, including tooth loss. If you think that you may have gum disease, it is important to seek treatment from your Amherst dentist right away in order to prevent the infection from becoming worse.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Typically, its most common cause is a bacteria that builds on the teeth and under the gum line. This bacteria is plaque—a sticky, colorless film—that forms on the teeth. Without regular brushing and flossing, plaque will harden and turn into tartar. This can lead to infection in the gums and bone that support the teeth.
Gum disease is a progressive disease that can have several stages. In the early stage, the gums may become red or swollen. Without treatment, the infection can spread to the underlying bone and other supporting tissues, resulting in a more serious condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
The most common signs and symptoms of gum disease are red, swollen, or tender gums. You may also notice bleeding gums during brushing or flossing. Additionally, receding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth are a serious indicator of gum disease. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist right away.
Who Is at Risk for Gum Disease?
Anyone can develop gum disease, but some people are more at risk than others. People who have poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing and flossing regularly, are at a higher risk. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease. Additionally, people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, carry a much higher risk.
People who are pregnant may also be at an increased risk due to hormonal changes. This can cause the gums to become more sensitive to plaque. In addition, people with certain genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, are more likely to develop gum disease.
Treatments for Gum Disease
The goal of treatment at Creekside Dentistry is to control the infection and prevent further damage to the gums. Depending on the severity of the infection, our dental team may recommend a number of treatments.
For example, scaling and root planing is a common, yet effective treatment. This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and below the gum line to reduce infection.
Additionally, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the infection. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bacteria from the gums and to repair any damage to the bone.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
In addition, you should avoid smoking and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can also help to keep your gums healthy.
Finally, if you have any risk factors for gum disease, it is important to talk to your dentist about ways to reduce your risk.