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Get Your Gum Disease Under Control with These Steps
February 01, 2023  |  oral health

Get Your Gum Disease Under Control with These Steps

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious condition that can damage your teeth and gums if left untreated. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing gum disease and keep it under control. This article provides an overview of what causes gum disease, how to diagnose it, and the steps you should take to get it under control.

Gum disease is a common oral health problem that affects millions of people in the United States each year. The bacteria in our mouths feed off food particles, forming plaque which then collects around the gums and hardens into tartar. When this happens, inflammation occurs leading to red, swollen, and painful gums. Over time, if left untreated, gum disease can lead to more serious health problems including tooth loss and an increased risk of heart disease. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your gums healthy and get your gum disease under control.

Understanding the Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that accumulate in our mouths from poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing or flossing regularly or not visiting the dentist for regular check-ups. Other factors that increase your risk for developing gum disease include smoking, diabetes, genetics, hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy), medications that dry out the mouth (such as those used to treat high blood pressure or depression), and illnesses that affect the immune system (such as HIV/AIDS).

Bacteria from Poor Oral Hygiene

As mentioned, one of the main causes of gum disease is bacteria that accumulate in our mouths from poor oral hygiene habits. This includes not brushing or flossing regularly or not visiting the dentist for regular check-ups. Brushing and flossing help remove plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva, from teeth. If plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar, which is harder to remove and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Tartar builds up on teeth and below the gum line which leads to inflammation and irritation of the gums, and eventually gum disease.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for developing gum disease. The chemicals in cigarettes can irritate and damage the gums, making them more susceptible to infection by bacteria. In addition, smoking prevents your body from being able to fight off infection which makes it difficult to keep the gums healthy.

Other Factors

Other factors that increase your risk for developing gum disease include diabetes, genetics, hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy), medications that dry out the mouth (such as those used to treat high blood pressure or depression), and illnesses that affect the immune system (such as HIV/AIDS).

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Gum disease can be diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a routine check-up. During the exam, your dentist will look for signs of redness, swelling, and inflammation in the gums as well as pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria can hide. Your dentist may also perform X-rays to look for bone loss which is a sign of advanced gum disease.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms associated with gum disease include red, swollen, and tender gums; bleeding while brushing or flossing; receding gums (your teeth appear longer); bad breath; and loose teeth. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to visit your dentist right away.

Treatment Options

Once you have been diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment may include medication (such as antibiotics), a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, or surgery. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions for treatment in order to get your gums back into good health.

Prevention

The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. It is also important to avoid smoking and limit your consumption of sugary snacks and drinks in order to keep your gums healthy.

Conclusion

Gum disease is a serious condition that can cause pain, discomfort, and even tooth loss if left untreated. The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. In addition, it’s important to avoid smoking and limit your consumption of sugary snacks and drinks in order to keep your gums healthy. If you experience any signs or symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to visit your dentist right away.

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

A: The most common signs and symptoms associated with gum disease include red, swollen, and tender gums; bleeding while brushing or flossing; receding gums (your teeth appear longer); bad breath; and loose teeth.

Q: What is the treatment for gum disease?

A: Treatment for gum disease may include medication (such as antibiotics), a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, or surgery. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions for treatment in order to get your gums back into good health.

Q: How can I prevent gum disease?

A: The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. It is also important to avoid smoking and limit your consumption of sugary snacks and drinks in order to keep your gums healthy.