Anyone who’s gone to a Jefferson City dentist already knows it’s important to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and floss between them at least once a day. Problem is, not enough folks acquire the habit. Putting these simple oral health habits into practice can prevent the buildup of foul-smelling plaque between your teeth, which can cause gum disease or periodontal disease that has been known as “pyorrhea.” About 80 percent of American adults have some form of gum disease. Here are some facts about what gum disease is and how you can avoid it.
What is gum (periodontal) disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth. It starts when plaque gathers along your gum line, triggering inflammation in your gums. Healthy gums are usually coral pink in color and firm, forming a sharp edge or point around the neck of your tooth. The most common form of gum disease is “gingivitis.” Hallmarks are reddened gums that look swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little to no pain with gingivitis.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque buildup is the main cause of gum disease. When plaque isn’t removed daily by brushing and flossing, it hardens. Hard plaque, known as tartar, harbors germs that can irritate gums and break down the attachment fibers connecting the gums to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with more bacteria. Pockets can become severely infected, painful, and swollen. Loosening of your tooth or teeth may happen and lead to their removal. Other things linked to gum disease include smoking and tobacco use, pregnancy, clenching or grinding of teeth, an unhealthy diet, diabetes, and hereditary tendencies.
Can gum disease affect my overall health?
No doubt about it! People with gum disease may be more likely to have heart disease or have trouble controlling their blood sugar, and pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to deliver preterm, low birth-weight babies than those with healthy gums.
How will Stadium Dental Center treat my gum disease?
Most treatments for gum disease begin with a special cleaning by Dr. Cardon or our hygienist, called a scaling and root planing. Scaling means removing the tartar from above and below your gum line. Root planing eliminates rough spots on your tooth root where germs accumulate to remove those inflammation-causing actors from your mouth. We also may prescribe special mouthwashes or topical treatments. Lasers also may be used to provide fast and minimally-invasive gum disease treatment. More advanced cases may warrant referral to a specialist to help preserve the life of severely affected teeth.
How is gum disease prevented?
No secret here–removing plaque by daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits twice a year for cleanings are your best bet to minimize your risk of gum disease. You also can reduce your risk by eating a healthy diet and curing cigarette and tobacco use.
It ‘s important to catch gum disease early. Visit our conveniently located Jefferson City Stadium Dental Center office routinely to avoid plaque buildup, and get your questions answered about your gum disease and its prevention.