What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the area around your teeth. That’s why dentists call it periodontal disease: periodontal means “around the teeth.” There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Oral bacteria live in your mouth, including on and around your teeth. These bacteria can be harmless, but sometimes, they can infect your mouth in a damaging way. At first, you’ll notice irritation of the gums, leading to swelling, pain on brushing, and bleeding. These are characteristic of the mild forms of gum disease called gingivitis. Most people have gingivitis and can manage it without harming their teeth or overall health.
However, if the infection worsens, you might notice other symptoms. The bacteria can damage your gums, enlarging the space around your teeth. Sensing the seriousness of the infection, your immune system responds with aggressive measures that can increase the damage to your gums. You will start to lose the bone that supports your teeth, and your gums may recede. This is periodontitis, associated with tooth loss and severe health problems.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Gum disease symptoms can be hard to recognize at first. However, paying attention to your gums is essential to identify gum disease symptoms and get treatment before it worsens.
Here are some of the symptoms of gum disease that your Cheney family dentist can help with, listed roughly from less severe to more serious:
Some people think it’s normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or floss, but it’s not. If your gums bleed, you should see your dentist. For some people, gum disease can progress rapidly. When you notice gum disease symptoms, talk to a dentist to ensure it doesn’t worsen.
Gum Disease Prevention Options
Gum disease is generally preventable, but prevention is easier for some people than others.
Harmful oral bacteria feed on sugars and other carbohydrates in your food. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat can help, but watching how you eat is just as important as watching what you eat. Eating carbohydrates in a few meals rather than spreading them throughout the day is better. Clean your teeth after eating carbohydrates. This doesn’t necessarily mean brushing your teeth–finishing your meal with sugar-free gum, a crunchy vegetable like carrots or celery, or even a glass of water can help.
Ensure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least daily. It’s crucial to floss correctly to remove oral bacteria from at or below your gum line. If you’re not doing a good job, we can help you learn the techniques—some benefit from trying different tools, like an interdental cleaner or water flosser.
If you brush your teeth more than twice a day, it isn’t necessary to use toothpaste every time. Just make sure you’re cleaning the bacteria residue away.
Mouthwash isn’t always helpful and can be harmful if it contains alcohol. Wait until instructed by your dentist to start using mouthwash.
Regular dental Checkups
Regular dental cleanings remove hardened deposits that can shelter oral bacteria and foster gum disease. Make sure you’re making your dental checkups as recommended by your dentist. This means two visits yearly, but some might require fewer or more.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Gum disease is treatable. The best treatment for your gum disease depends on how severe your gum disease is.
When we first notice gum disease symptoms, we might recommend changes to our prevention routine. This can include changes to your diet, your hygiene, or your dental checkups.
We recommend antibacterial mouthwashes or other antibacterial treatments to control harmful bacteria.
Scaling and Planing
If your gum disease worsens, we might recommend a more strenuous dental cleaning known as root scaling and planing. We’ll remove bacteria buildup on your tooth roots, then smooth them to make it harder for bacteria to attach. Then, we’ll press your gums to your roots to encourage healing.
We might refer you to a periodontist for more severe gum disease for surgery. Periodontal surgery can sometimes include tooth extraction, and we might perform the extraction in our office if we think it’s best to protect your oral and overall health.
Get gum disease Treatment in Cheney
If you are experiencing gum disease, don’t wait until it affects your teeth or health. Get it treated to maintain your beautiful smile and protect your heart and brain. Please call (509) 235-8451 or use our online form today to request an appointment at Collins Family Dentistry.