Gum disease is one that affects the tissue of the gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates as many as 47% of adults over the age of 30 are affected by gum disease in the United States. Surprisingly, gum disease is a condition completely preventable with proper dental care and dentist-recommended oral hygiene.
What is Gum Disease?
Our gums are the tissues that protect the jawbone and hold our teeth in place. Gum disease is an inflammation of this tissue. It can lead to a loss of the tissue and bone that support a healthy smile, putting your teeth in jeopardy. There are several warning signs that you may be suffering from gum disease:
- Gums that bleed easily from brushing or flossing your teeth
- Tender gums that are red or swollen
- Constant bad taste in your mouth or frequent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together or loose teeth
- Dull or sharp pain when chewing food
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Through proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, gum disease can be prevented. The removal of plaque is key to overall gum and oral health and gum disease prevention. In addition to regularly scheduled dental checkups, by using a mouthwash and an antibacterial toothpaste you are removing plaque and adding to the gum disease prevention.
Three stages of gum disease:
- Initial stage. Caused by a buildup of plaque, gingivitis is recognized by the swelling and redness of the gum tissue. In this initial stage, one may notice bleeding when brushing or flossing. Gum disease may still be reversed if treated at this stage.
- The next stage is periodontitis. At this stage of gum disease, there is the chance damage cannot be reversed and must be treated. Spaces below the gum line form and cause the tooth and connective tissue holding it in place to begin to separate. At this stage, it is necessary for professional dental care and thorough oral hygiene can prevent periodontitis from advancing to the last stage.
- The last stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. When gum disease progresses, the fibers of the teeth and tissue holding your teeth in place are being destroyed by infection. These changes in your gums and connective fibers may cause you to notice lose teeth, a shift in bite, or your chew is affected. Teeth may need to be extracted by your dentist if they cannot be salvaged at this stage.
If you are showing any signs of gum disease, schedule a consultation with our Toledo dentist at Light Touch Dental Care as soon as possible. In the earliest stages of gum disease, the condition can be reversible with proper oral care.
Why choose Dr. Natalie Nechvatal?
Dr. Natalie Nechvatal is accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and has extensive experience treating the various forms of gum disease. She stays up-to-date on the new treatments for teeth, gums, and oral health, as they are developed. With her help, you can be on the road to a healthy smile.