If it’s been awhile since you received a professional dental cleaning and exam, you might have the beginning stage of gum disease without even realizing it. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a type of oral infection that grows worse over time if left untreated. In its more severe stages, periodontal disease can result in gum recession, tooth loosening, and even tooth loss. Visit a general dentistry office near Newton if you notice any of the possible signs and symptoms of this serious oral health problem.
Causes and Risk Factors
Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth above and under the gum line. If plaque isn’t removed quickly, it turns into tartar, which is impossible to remove at home with a toothbrush. When plaque and tartar stay in the mouth for a long time, the bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed . This is the early stage of periodontal disease. Poor at-home oral hygiene and tobacco use are two of the biggest culprits of gum disease. Other risk factors can include pregnancy, genetics, diabetes, and the use of certain medications.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have gingivitis, you may have already noticed that your gums tend to bleed easily when you brush and floss. The gums may also appear swollen and redder than usual. Gum disease causes bad breath, changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together, recession of the gum line, and loosening of the teeth. As soon as any of these problems are noticed, it’s important to get to a dentist right away. The earlier gum disease is treated, the less risk there is of complications.
Treatments and Prevention
If gum disease is detected in the early stages, your dentist may perform a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. It’s also important to identify your risk factors of periodontal disease and, if possible, take steps to modify them. If the infection is already advanced, then oral surgery may be required. After your gum disease has been resolved, you should know that it’s possible to get it again. Work with your dentist to put a prevention plan into place. This will include visits to the dental office at least twice per year, better oral hygiene habits at home, and possibly smoking cessation therapy.