Who needs to worry about gum disease? The elderly? People with unhealthy immune systems? Those who don’t brush and floss their teeth?
The answer may surprise you.
Everyone needs to worry about gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a chronic, progressive disease that will slowly erode the gum and bone tissue that holds your teeth in place. Early gum disease, gingivitis, is treatable and reversible, but once gum disease has progressed past this stage, it is no longer reversible, although therapies are available to stop its progress. At this point, surgery is required to restore the gum and bone tissue.
What many people don’t realize is that gum disease is a serious condition that researchers have linked to other serious diseases and health conditions including strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, reproductive problems, and certain forms of cancer. When you develop infection in your gums, it’s easy for the infection to spread throughout your body, causing systemic problems.
At Apollonia Dental, we take gum disease very seriously. During your examinations and cleanings, we’ll discuss your home care routine and provide advice on improving your technique to help you avoid developing the disease. If you currently have gum disease, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment program.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Most gum disease is caused by poor hygiene habits. When plaque and tartar are allowed to build up between the teeth and beneath the gumline, harmful bacteria have a place to thrive. These bacteria cause infections in the pockets that form around teeth, which further erodes the gum tissue.
For some people, gum disease has a genetic component; if your parents had gum disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
Other known risk factors for developing gum disease include:
- Certain medications that can reduce saliva production, change it's protective capacity
- Poor nutrition
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Hormonal changes
Do You Have Gum Disease?
When gum disease first develops, you may not experience any symptoms. In some cases, by the time you notice symptoms, gum disease has already taken hold and is causing damage to your gum and bone tissue.
The following signs may indicate that you have developed gum disease:
- Gum tissue changes color from a healthy pink to an inflamed red
- Tenderness and sensitivity set in
- Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth
- You develop bad breath that can’t be alleviated with brushing
- Chewing becomes painful
- Your teeth may become loose
- Your teeth appear longer as the gum tissue recedes
To catch gum disease as early as possible, visit Dr. McGrath twice every year for examinations and professional cleanings.
Treating Gum Disease
At Apollonia Dental, we offer a number of different therapy options to treat gum disease. Deep cleanings (gum infection therapy) help to remove bacteria and allow the body to let the gums around teeth heal. Laser therapy is sometimes used in this process to improve precision and the effectiveness of the treatment. Oral and local antibiotics may also be used to treat the infection. If your gum disease is causing severe recession and damage to your tissue, surgery may also be an option.
We will discuss your condition with you and provide you with information on the treatments we recommend to help you decide the best course of action.
Call our Middletown, CT dental office today at 860-269-6735 to schedule your appointment!