Understanding Gum Disease and How to Prevent It

Understanding Gum Disease and How to Prevent It

July 1, 2023

Periodontal disease is a gum infection causing severe inflammation of the gums with symptoms including bleeding, swelling, and reddish gums. When left untreated, the disease can result in tooth loss. Treatment options may involve deep cleanings and, in severe cases, surgery. Fortunately, regular brushing and flossing help prevent gum infections.

Periodontal Disease Explained

Periodontal disease is an excruciating form of gum disease. It is a bacterial infection starting by inflaming the soft tissues around your teeth. If left untreated, bone erosion supporting your teeth results in mobility and tooth loss.

How Standard Is Periodontal Disease?

Over 47 percent of adults over 30 and 70 percent of adults over 65 are affected by some form of periodontal disease in America. Periodontal disease is relatively standard in people below 30 but is more likely to occur as you age. However, it affects anyone with poor dental hygiene, especially from the lack of brushing and flossing. Genetic conditions can also make people prone to this infection.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Healthy gums are firm to the touch, fitting snugly around your teeth. However, if you have periodontal disease, symptoms include red and purplish gums, easily bleeding and swollen gums, lousy breath, loose teeth, tooth loss, gum recession, painful chewing, new spaces between teeth or gaps, and changes in the way your teeth fitting together.

Periodontal Disease Causes

The primary cause of gum disease is poor dental hygiene. Bacterial growth in your mouth clinging to teeth surfaces needs regular cleaning and flossing. However, if bacteria remain on your teeth, they travel beneath your gumline, where your toothbrush and dental floss cannot reach. The harmful bacteria erode the tooth tissues supporting your teeth resulting in infection, bone loss, and tooth loss.

Alternative factors of gum disease or smoking weaken the body’s ability to fight infections. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease. Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy or using contraceptive pills also increase the chances of gum disease, besides health conditions causing inflammation in the body like arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and Covid 19.

What Happens If Periodontal Disease Remains Untreated?

Periodontal disease increases in severity to become more problematic over time. There are four stages of gum disease, including gingivitis, mild, moderate, and severe periodontitis. Therefore when you observe the symptoms of gingivitis, it helps if you discuss early treatment to manage or reverse the condition with the dentist near you. If you allow gingivitis to remain untreated, it silently progresses to mild, moderate, and severe periodontitis, where you experience gum recession, bone loss, and loss of teeth. The condition can also affect your general health because patients with severe periodontitis are at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and other severe health issues.

Periodontal Disease Diagnosis

If you are vigilant with your dental hygiene regimen and schedule regular appointments with the dentist in Gilbert for checkups and cleanings, they can diagnose periodontal disease during a dental exam. When the dentist notices gum inflammation or bleeding gums, they will enquire about your symptoms and medical history. They will use periodontal probes to ascertain whether you have pockets around your teeth. They also take x-rays to determine bone loss and start treatment for gum infection at the dental office.

Periodontal Disease Treatment

The extent and severity of your condition determine which treatment best suits your needs. Gum disease treatment has surgical and nonsurgical options. The treatments include:

Antibiotics: the local dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics to combat the infection. Alternatively, they may place antibiotics beneath your gums targeting the affected area.

Scaling and Root Planing: alternatively called deep dental cleaning, scaling, and root training are similar to routine cleanings. However, you will receive local anesthesia in your gums to numb them and help your dentist clean the bacteria beneath your gumline. They will also smooth the tooth roots to prevent further back and bacteria from accumulating. Scaling and root planing require at least two visits to the Gilbert dentist and a visit every month after the procedure to check your gums and ascertain your progress.

If you have severe periodontal disease, you may require surgical treatments, including flap surgery, dental bone grafts, gum grafts, guided tissue regeneration, et cetera.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

The optimal technique to prevent periodontal disease is to practice satisfactory oral hygiene at home and visit the Gilbert dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. If you are prone to this infection, you will require more frequent cleanings than people without gum disease. You can ask your dentist how often you need to get your teeth cleaned to maintain optimal oral health. You must understand severe periodontal disease has no cure making early intervention from the dentist essential when you notice the symptoms of gingivitis to receive help to reverse and control the condition. Unfortunately, if you allow gingivitis to progress silently into severe periodontal disease, you develop a lifelong companion that remains in your mouth and needs frequent dentist visits requesting intensive treatments.

If you experience the symptoms of gum disease as described in this article, kindly seek help from Smiles of Gilbert to reverse the condition in its earliest stages. If the severity of periodontal disease has increased, the dental office can also provide intensive treatments to manage the problem.

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