Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in the colorless film that builds up in your mouth called plaque. It’s the sticky film you feel in your mouth when you wake up in the morning. When left to build up on your teeth, this plaque eventually turns into tartar which creates, even more microbes that damage your teeth.
Also known as periodontal disease, this infection of the gums can lead to a deterioration of your bone structure around the infected area. Certain medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes make you more susceptible to gum disease.
How to prevent gum disease
It is easy to keep periodontal disease at bay when you practice proper oral hygiene habits. Some of the things you can do to reduce your odds of getting gum disease include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day, preferably after every meal
- Brushing your tongue daily as well since it’s a hotspot for bacteria
- Flossing at least once a day to remove food particles that are stuck between your teeth and gums
- Using a quality mouth rinse to remove food particles that are missed during brushing
- Talking to your dentist about gum disease if it’s in your family history
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding sticky foods that are hard to get off your teeth
- Visiting your dentist at least twice a year
Following these preventive measures will drastically reduce your odds of getting gum disease.
How do you know if you already have gum disease?
It’s easy to treat periodontal disease when it is detected early in its development. Things become increasingly more difficult as it progresses and the infection gets deep inside your gums. Here are some common symptoms of gum disease:
- Gums that often bleed while brushing
- Tender gums
- A receding gum line
- Loose or misaligned teeth
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Puss coming out of your gums
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to a dentist right away.
What treatment options are available?
The best way to keep the harmful tartar that leads to gum disease at bay is by having your teeth cleaned regularly by a dentist. Regular visits to the dentist’s office will also increase the odds that it is discovered in its early stages.
If your case is more severe, your dentist will perform root planning and scaling procedures to treat the infected areas. This is generally done with an ultrasonic tool that is used to remove debris, tartar, and plaque from below and above your gum lines. Hand scales are also often used to smoothen your teeth and scrape away any infection left. Some dentists prefer using a laser to remove tartar deposits.
In the most extreme cases where the periodontal deposits are over 5mm below your gum line, gingival flap surgery may be performed to remove the bacteria trapped inside your gums and restore lost bone tissue.
If you think you have gum disease, stop procrastinating and schedule an appointment with your dentist to figure out what your options are.
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