Has your dentist told you that you have gum disease? According to our Sherman Oaks dentist, this common condition is usually a result of improper or poor dental hygiene. Understanding how to prevent and treat gum disease is important to maintaining good oral health, no matter what your age. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of gum disease and how to take action to prevent or treat gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs from bacteria or infection of the tissues (gums) that hold your teeth in place. Usually, this is caused by poor brushing or lack of flossing, which allows bacteria to build upon your teeth. Plaque that is not removed and is allowed to sit on teeth can cause gum disease.
Some risk factors enhance the likelihood of gum disease. These risk factors include smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes, and certain medications.
What are the symptoms of Gum Disease?
Gum disease can cause several symptoms to manifest in the mouth. These include bad breath, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, pain when chewing, sensitive teeth, receding gums, and generalized mouth discomfort.
Causes and Prevention of Gum Disease
As previously mentioned, gum disease starts with developing plaque that is caused by bacteria. As plaque builds on your teeth, it is important to maintain optimal oral hygiene to continually remove this plaque. Otherwise, plaque can eventually progress to gum disease.
Preventing gum disease before it occurs is the most ideal situation. This begins with good oral hygiene throughout your entire life. To help prevent gum disease, brush your teeth at least two minutes at least two times a day (morning and night). At a minimum, you should floss at least once per day. Flossing helps you prevent the buildup of bacteria between your teeth.
In addition to your at-home dental hygiene, professional dentist visits help to prevent gum disease. At least once every six to twelve months, a dental cleaning should be performed. This in-office dental cleaning helps remove plaque which can lead to gum disease.
Treating Gum Disease
Once gum disease has already occurred, the treatment will depend on the severity. Your dentist may want to take x-rays to look for potential bone loss and review your medical history. Treating gum disease is possible but will require adopting better oral hygiene practices. This may include stopping smoking or tobacco use, as well.
Many non-surgical treatments for gum disease are available. One option, known as scaling, helps to remove tartar and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Root planing is another procedure that helps discourage the further buildup of bacteria. Some surgical treatments also are available for more severe forms of gum disease. This includes flap surgery or grafts, which may be needed if the gum disease has destroyed the bone around your teeth.
Preventing Gum Disease is Key
Taking good care of your mouth is important in preventing gum disease. With a few basic oral hygiene habits, you can help prevent this condition! Daily brushing with a soft toothbrush, flossing, and using a mouth rinse are simple ways to prevent this condition. Avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco is also important in eliminating further risk for gum disease. Gum disease can lead to serious complications if not addressed. If you think you may have gum disease, talk to your dentist about treatment plans.