Are your gums red, swollen, and tender? Do they bleed easily when you brush your teeth? If you answered yes to these questions, you might have gum disease. Although, it’s also possible to have gum disease and not even know it.
Dr. Seaghi wants to help you have a beautiful, healthy smile, so here are a few things you need to know about the prevention and treatment of gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a collective term that is actually two different mouth conditions. The mild form of gum disease is commonly known as gingivitis, and the more severe form is called periodontitis.
Both diseases start with one problem -- bacteria.
No matter how often you brush your teeth, your mouth is full of tiny bacteria. The bacteria mixes with mucus and other particles in your mouth to make plaque, a sticky film that coats your teeth. If you brush and floss, you can remove the plaque. If you don’t, the plaque hardens into a yellow, hard substance known as tartar.
The more plaque and tartar you have on your teeth, the more likely it is that you’ll develop gingivitis or periodontitis.
With gingivitis, your gums are red and swollen and bleed easily. It can usually be reversed with good hygiene, like brushing and flossing daily and regular cleanings at Dr. Saeghi’s office. But if gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.
If you have periodontitis, you may notice your gums pulling away from your teeth. When this happens, small pockets form between your gums and teeth. These pockets leave space for food and plaque to collect and create a good place for infection. If periodontitis isn’t treated, your bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth can be destroyed, causing major oral health issues.
Symptoms of gum disease
Many of the symptoms of gum disease take time to show and start to bother you. This means that you could have poor oral health and not even know about it.
Here are a few of the symptoms you may notice if you have any form of gum disease:
- Gums that are red, swollen, or painful
- Bleeding gums when you brush, floss, or eat foods that are hard
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- Teeth that move and separate, leaving new spaces, loose teeth, or a change in how your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite
- Signs of infection, such as pus between your teeth and gums
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath that won’t go away after brushing, flossing, or mouthwash
- Dentures that are loose or fit poorly
How to prevent gum disease
The best news about gum disease is that it’s completely preventable. Here are a few things you can do to keep your gums healthy.
Get regular checkups
Getting regular checkups by Dr. Saeghi is important, no matter how old you are. But as you age, gum disease becomes more common, so checkups are essential to mouth health.
Schedule appointments with our highly skilled team at Modern Age Dentistry on a regular basis, usually every six months. Our team cleans your teeth, removes any plaque or tartar, and checks for signs of gum disease. If we find anything concerning, we teach you how to best care for your teeth and gums and schedule your next cleaning.
Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease compared to nonsmokers. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it hard to fight off an infection in your gums. Once you have gum disease, smoking decreases your body’s ability to heal your sore, swollen gums.
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit. The damage in your gums can be treated and healed.
Keep up with daily oral care
If you want to prevent gum disease or slow its progression, you need healthy mouth care habits. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice every day -- morning and night -- and floss at least once.
Another part of daily mouth care is your diet. Eat healthy foods that are low in sugar and processed carbs.
Treatment for gum disease
If prevention isn’t an option, your gum disease can be treated. Dr. Saeghi develops a treatment plan that fits your level of disease. This plan may include:
- A special cleaning that goes below the gum line
- Prescription strength mouthwash or other medicine
- Surgery to remove tartar or help heal the bones and gums lost to gum disease
If you think you have gum disease, don’t delay in getting treated. Make an appointment at one of our three convenient locations by booking online or calling today.