Gum disease, is the process that begins when bacterial growth in your mouth begins to lead to the corrosion of your teeth and gums. If left untreated, long-term effects include extensive gum deterioration, along with early tooth loss.
There are two stages in gum disease of which include: gingivitis (gum inflammation) followed by periodontitis (gum disease). Within the stages of gingivitis, the bacteria in hardened plaque pockets build up causing the gums to become irritated and swell. When brushing your gums may appear red or may bleed easily. Despite gum irritation, the roots of your teeth are still firmly in their place.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. During this process, the gums begin to pull away from the tooth creating pockets where bacteria can collect and spread. Toxins produced by the bacteria, along with enzymes present in your body’s natural defense of infections, begin to eat at the bone and tissue that anchor your tooth. As the process continues, the corrosion spreads and more gum tissue and bone are damaged. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, thus resulting in permanent tooth loss.
While tartar buildup is the leading cause of gum disease, there are additional contributing factors. Some of these include: illnesses that affect the immune system (HIV, diabetes), poor lifestyle habits such as smoking or a diet high in sugar, poor oral hygiene habits or a family history of periodontal disease.
Some symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that are susceptible to bleeding
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
- A receding gum line
- Loose or shifting teeth
Some progression of gum disease may be present in your gums despite not having any symptoms. This is a reason why regular dental check ups are important in the prevention and treatment of gum disease. Only a dentist or periodontist will be able to recognize symptoms of gum disease.
If you live in or around Fargo and you suspect you may be in need of gum disease treatment or if you have any questions, contact us or fill out an appointment request form today to schedule a consultation with one of our periodontists. Our specialists are experts in evaluating your oral health and will advise you along the appropriate treatment process.
Gum Disease Prevention
Gum disease is the process during which built up bacteria begins to eat away at your teeth and gums, eventually leading to tooth decay and bone loss if left untreated. Preventing gum disease is as simple as practicing healthy dental habits.
Healthy dental habits include:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day. In the morning and before bedtime. Be sure to brush along all sides of your teeth, and along the surface of your tongue to remove bacteria that is a bad breath culprit. Remember, a soft toothbrush is most effective for a gentle but thorough cleaning.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or an antiseptic mouthwash like Listerine.
- Floss at least once a day to remove build up in tight spaces between teeth. Wrap the floss between your fingers and curve the string floss around each tooth. Gently slide it up and down the surface of each tooth and under the gum line to scrape off any plaque.
- Avoid foods high in sugar such as candy, or sweetened drinks. These types of foods can lead to plaque and tartar buildup, promoting tooth decay.
- Visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and examined.
Bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease and should be mentioned to your dentist during any examination. The practice of good dental habits is essential in preventing gum disease and supporting the long-term health of your teeth. If you live in or around Frago and have a questions about gum treatment please give us a call today!