Unless you work in a dentist’s office, you may be unfamiliar with the term periodontal disease. Considered a clinical term for what is otherwise known as gum disease, this harmful dental problem can wreak havoc on not only your oral health but your overall well-being. What you think is only affecting your mouth can actually lead to serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s and Dementia. As someone who relies on the expertise of dental professionals to know the appropriate terms and provide quality care, take a few minutes to learn more about this common oral disease and what you can do to prevent it.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Millions of adults in the United States have some form of gum disease and don’t even know it. When plaque and tartar start to develop above and below the gum line, it attacks the soft oral tissue that surrounds your teeth, causing redness, inflammation, and even bleeding to occur when brushing or flossing.
WHAT ARE ITS SYMPTOMS?
Apart from the redness appearing on your gums as well as puffiness (inflammation) and bleeding, there are other ways to tell if gum disease is a current problem and should be seen by a dentist:
- Bad breath
- Receding gums and teeth that appear longer
- Gum pocket development
- Loose or separating teeth
- Oral sores that do not heal
- Pus developing between your teeth and gums
- A change in your bite
There are certain risk factors that can make gum disease more prevalent in some more than others with the most common ones being:
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Teeth grinding or clenching
WAYS TO TREAT GUM DISEASE
If you and your dentist believe gum disease is present, it is important that necessary treatment occurs in order to keep it from escalating. The earliest stage is known as gingivitis, which can easily be treated with regular dental cleanings and practicing good oral hygiene habits at home. However, if plaque has spread beneath the gum line and the soft tissue is beginning to create a small pocket, your dentist will need to perform a root and scaling procedure.
This type of treatment removes harmful plaque and tartar and smooths out the tooth root to ensure that the gums will reattach to the teeth over time. As you will be considered a “periodontal patient,” it will be necessary to see your dentist more often than every six months to ensure that infection stays away.
By maintaining good oral hygiene, limiting the amount of sugar you consume, and eating a well-balanced diet, you can work to prevent gum disease from occurring. But if you start to notice problems with the way your mouth feels or how your gums look when brushing or flossing, get in to see your dentist as soon as possible. The quicker you start treatment, the better off your oral health will be.