Gum disease or periodontal disease is a common oral condition that causes tender, bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can advance to more serious complications, causing severe decay and tooth loss.
Check out these five FAQs below about periodontal disease:
Who Is at Risk For Gum Disease?
Everyone is at risk for developing periodontal disease at some point in their lives. Older patients are more likely to develop it. While it isn’t a normal part of aging, about half of all adults have some signs of gingivitis. Some people, however, are more at risk. For example, if you suffer from diabetes or another systemic disease, your body has a harder time fighting off infection, making it easier for the disease to develop and worsen. Smokers have a higher risk because the dangerous substances in cigarettes make it harder for the body to fight off infection.
How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is completely preventable, but you have to take steps to keep it at bay. For starters, don’t smoke, and take care of your overall health to prevent developing diseases like diabetes. The next step is to always make sure you have great oral hygiene at home. Brush at least twice a day, and don’t forget to floss. Try to avoid sugary foods that promote plaque, which irritates the gums. Lastly, always go to your regular dental cleanings and exams. Even if you don’t have a cavity or another problem, these regular cleanings are important. Only professional dental cleanings can remove tartar. If tartar is left along your gum line, it can lead to chronic inflammation and bone loss.
Is the Disease Reversible?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. It is easily reversed with regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings. Signs of gingivitis include tenderness, bleeding when brushing and redness. However, you may have no symptoms, which is another reason to see your dentist regularly. In some cases, gingivitis advances to periodontitis, which is harder to treat. You can’t fix it with just regular at-home care. At this stage, you’ll need your dentist’s help to correct some of the symptoms, such as receding gums and bone deterioration.
What Happens If You Don’t Seek Treatment?
If you have gingivitis and don’t seek treatment, at best, you suffer from bleeding, tender gums. At worse, your gingivitis advances to periodontitis. Once you have periodontitis, more serious problems can occur. As the inflammation grows, it can lead to severe gum recession, exposing your tooth roots and increasing the chance of severe decay. If left untreated, it can cause the bone to shrink, making it harder to hold your teeth in place.
What Should You Do if You Develop Periodontal Disease?
If you believe you have gum disease, go see your dentist. Hopefully, you’ve caught it early enough, and your dentist will help you understand what you can do at home to reverse it. Your dentist may also suggest scaling and root planing to clean tartar and plaque below the gum line, which can help alleviate inflammation. If your gum disease has advanced to periodontitis, your dentist may offer some assistance, such as anti-bacterial rinses, but you may need to see a specialist for services such as a gum graft or bone graft if your gums or jawbone has diminished too far.
Gum disease isn’t just a mild annoyance. It can cause serious dental problems and should be treated immediately. If you believe you have periodontal disease or just want to know more about it, contact Landmark Dental Group today.