What is Gum Disease? Prevention and treatment
Your gum, just like any other part of the body, is susceptible to disease. Plaque is often the most common cause of gum disease, resulting from poor dental hygiene. Before we delve any further, what exactly is gum disease? Essentially, gum disease occurs when the gums become red, inflamed, and sore. Common types of gum disease:
- Gingivitis – This is the mildest form of gum disease, characterized by red and swollen gums that bleed easily. You are unlikely to feel any noticeable discomfort at this stage.
Fortunately, you can prevent gum disease, and with early detection, it’s easily treatable. Here are a few things you should know about gum disease from our family dentist in Maplewood Mo.
Risk factors for gum disease
Certain factors can exacerbate your chances of developing gum disease. They include:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Certain prescription medications.
- A history of gum disease in the family.
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Medical conditions such as diabetes.
- Hormonal shifts in women. For instance, while pregnant.
Symptoms of gum disease
You may be suffering from gum disease if you experience:
- Tender or bleeding gums.
- Red or inflamed gums.
- Bad breath that won’t go away.
- Pain while chewing.
- Loose teeth.
- Sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums.
How do I prevent gum disease?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is at the core of preventing gum disease, as the goal is to prevent plaque build-up. It involves habits such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily. Brushing your teeth and flossing helps control plaque build-up and the levels of bacteria, keeping your mouth, teeth, and gum healthy.
Furthermore, it’s crucial that you also attend regular dental checkups. We know! We know! The mere thought of visiting a dentist can be stressful. However, it’s advisable that you see your dentist every six to twelve months or more often if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above. During your dental appointment, you can have your teeth professionally cleaned. Your dentist may also identify early signs of gum disease, which is key to avoiding potentially bigger problems down the line.
Treatment of gum disease
Once your dentist diagnoses you with gum disease, essentially, the goal of treatment is to control the infection. As standard, our family dentist in Maplewood, MO, will formulate an individualized treatment plan for you depending on the severity of your condition. During the early stages, a dentist will clean your teeth to remove debris and plaque in hard-to-reach areas. No other treatments may be necessary, and your gum should heal on its own. Nevertheless, your dentist will require you to maintain high standards of oral hygiene moving forward.
For more advanced cases, treatment is likely to involve deep cleaning of the gums and pockets around the teeth. More serve and persistent gum infections may require your dentist to perform a minor procedure to remove the infected gum and tissue areas. If deemed necessary, you may also have to take injectable or oral antibiotics to help clear out the infection.
The bottom line is prevention is the best way to avoid gum disease. Hence, taking care of your teeth and gums should be a top priority. If you develop gum disease despite your best efforts or suspect that you do, it’s important that you make a dental appointment as soon as possible. At Delmar Family Dental, we offer an array of high-tech and conservative treatment options for gum disease to help you take control of your dental health. Please get in touch with our family dentist in Maplewood, MO, today to begin your journey to total body wellness.