Well over half of the American population has some form of gum disease. This common oral health issue is cited as the leading cause of tooth loss in the US and has been connected to increasing a person’s risk of respiratory infection, memory loss, and heart disease. Thankfully, gum disease can be treated and reversed if caught early enough. Read on as your La Plata dentist explains if and how this oral health concern can be “cured” in its various stages.
Understanding Gum Disease
Cavities aren’t the only problem plaque and bacteria can cause in your mouth. They can also attack your gum tissue and cause an infection, which is known as gum disease. The earliest and only reversible stage of this infection is called gingivitis. However, if it’s left untreated, the bacteria will become stronger and more widespread. This advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis.
Periodontitis results in permanent damage to the mouth. Once the bacteria reach the jawbone, they will begin to attack it and cause it to weaken. The connective tissues that hold your teeth in place will begin to be destroyed, which will eventually cause them to fall out. In very serious cases, the dangerous bacteria and the body’s natural inflammatory response will travel to the lungs, heart, brain, and other internal systems.
Symptoms & Treatments for Gingivitis
Since the symptoms of advanced gum disease are so severe, it’s essential that this bacterial infection is identified and treated as soon as possible. Keep a lookout for tell-tale warning signs like:
- Inflamed, bright red, or puffy gums.
- Gum tissue that bleeds easily
- Chronic bad breath
While these symptoms may be easy to miss or ignore, it’s important to catch them as early as possible. Make sure to brush your teeth for a full two minutes twice a day, floss between your teeth daily, use specialized mouth was, and eat a low-sugar diet. These simple habits can clean away the bacteria and reverse gingivitis.
Identifying & Managing Periodontitis
Periodontitis causes much more noticeable warning signs than gingivitis, including:
- Receding gums that form deep pockets by the teeth.
- Pain, swelling, and discharge from the gum tissue.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
The damage caused by periodontitis is irreversible, but there are treatments that can help get your gum health back on track. Your dentist may recommend seeing a specialist, who may suggest using a powerful prescription mouthwash, gum or jawbone grafting, or surgical services.
The best way to “cure” gum disease is to prevent it from developing in the first place. Keep up a great daily dental care routine and get a dental checkup at least twice a year to keep your gums bacteria-free. If you do notice signs of gum disease, don’t hesitate to contact your La Plata dentist right away for periodontal therapy. They can use a deep cleaning technique called scaling and root planning to thoroughly eliminate the infection and help prevent future reinfection.
About the Practice
The talented team of La Plata Dental strives to meet and exceed expectations of dentistry during every appointment. Whether you need a routine cleaning or more substantial help to regain your healthy smile, they offer a wide range of services that can help. While their goal is always to prevent oral health issues like gum disease before they start, they provide periodontal therapy treatments to stop it in its tracks. If you’re concerned about the health of your gums, don’t hesitate to contact them via their website or at (240) 349-2439.