What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that is a result of poor dental hygiene. Gum disease starts as gingivitis and then becomes periodontitis. Gum disease is very common and easily prevented.
At certain stages, it can be reversible. If left untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and even leave you at risk for heart and lung diseases. An infection left untreated will continue to spread and infect other parts of your body.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease starts with a built up of plaque. Plaque will start to build up on the teeth and gumline. The first stage is gingivitis—at this point, it is still reversible with some good oral hygiene habits. Getting a professional dental cleaning and practicing good habits like brushing and flossing can reserve it.
The next stage of gum disease is periodontitis. At this more advanced stage, treatment options are more invasive. Techniques may include cleaning of the surfaces of your roots, removing plaque from beneath your gum line, or even surgery.
Signs of Gum Disease:
Early signs of gum disease can be subtle and often go unnoticed for some time. Look for these symptoms:
- Swollen gums—gum disease typically starts with red and swollen gums. They may or may not be tender. It’s common that they will not be painful, and thus get overlooked.
- Bleeding when you floss—you may start to notice some bleeding when you floss. Again, it may or may not hurt, but if there is blood, that is a sure sign of gum disease.
- Bad breath—this can be caused by many things. But if you are experiencing bad breath regularly and cannot determine another cause, it can be from gum disease.
- Gums are pulling away from teeth—gums will become less healthy and start to pull away from teeth.
- Change in bite—you may notice your bite slightly changing. This could be a result of teeth moving due to decay.
- Your permanent teeth are loose—when gums are infected, they can’t do their job. Your permanent teeth may start to loosen and even wiggle if they are attached to an unhealthy gum.
How To Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease can easily be prevented with good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day will help you to avoid many dental hiccups including gum disease. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings will also help you to prevent any sort of infection or decay. Working fluoride into your dental routine will also help you to avoid decay.
Regular dental visits will also help your catch gum disease in its early stages when it’s still reversible. Prevention and early detection are key to fighting gum disease. The longer the infection lives in your mouth the more it will spread. Avoid dealing with the woes of gum disease all together when you practice good oral care.