The last thing you want to hear from the dentist or periodontist is that you have periodontal disease. Believe it or not, most dentists deliver those words virtually daily. The good news is that you can prevent gum disease, and it is treatable in the long run.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease isn’t contagious. You don’t walk around public places and then someone gives you periodontal disease by coughing on your or something of that nature. Generally speaking, gum disease is usually caused by lack of maintenance. Think of it as if you were driving thousands and thousands of miles every single day, but you weren’t getting regular oil changes.
Our mouths have millions of bacteria, but they are microscopic. Most of the bacteria is beneficial, but there is also gunk and mucus inside of our mouths, and this can cause plaque. Plaque is removed via flossing and brushing our teeth on a regular basis, and we have to keep on doing it.
Sometimes we skip brushing and/or flossing and this can lead to gingivitis if plaque is allowed to harden. This is noticeable because your gums may bleed or be very red and swollen. When you brush regularly and you floss regularly, as well as visit the dentist when you’re supposed to, then plaque can become a thing of the past.
However, if you just ignore problems, then plaque will continue to become very thick and hard, and eventually gingivitis will form. Before you know it, your gums will start to recede, or come apart from your teeth. Trust us, gingivitis is horrible.
Your gums protect the air pockets that are located right around your teeth’s roots, and they prevent bacteria from entering those air pockets. When the gums pull apart, then those bacteria can get inside, which leads to pain and infection. Eventually the entire area around the root will become rotted. Unfortunately, this could also lead to losing teeth.
Preventing Gum Disease
For starters, floss your teeth and brush them. Most people don’t care too much for flossing, but you have to do it no matter what. Also, know whether or now you have risk factors. These factors include:
- Other diseases
Whether you have those risk factors or not, you still want to brush and floss regularly. Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least two times per day and brush using gentle circular motions. After you do this, floss or floss once at night.
It doesn’t hurt to use mouthwash too, but this is optional. At the bare minimum, you want to floss and brush. Take your time and clean all of your mouth. Don’t just keep the toothpaste in your mouth and move it around a little bit because this doesn’t do much.
What If You Already Have Gum Disease?
It’s not the end of the world if you already have gum disease. Maybe you’re already experiencing a little bit of pain. The chances are your gums might be inflamed and a bit on the red side. Other symptoms include teeth that are loose, bad breath that doesn’t go away and pain when you chew food.
If the above sounds like you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a periodontist today. The sooner the better. When you arrive, you’ll likely undergo some x-rays, which will reveal if you’ve lost any bones.
If the dentist is a periodontist, then they will be able to provide you with advice and point you in the right direction. Treatment involves removing bacteria, and then letting the gums heal over the air pockets that have been left exposed. Usually, a deep clean is the first step in the treatment process.
After you receive a deep clean, you will be given medications, such as a powerful mouthwash with antiseptic properties. If you have a severe case of gum disease, then surgery may be required, but don’t worry because a professional dental surgeon performs it. You’ll be under anesthesia throughout the surgery.
All of this doesn’t sound too nice. However, gum disease is a lot worse than any treatment you’ll receive. The last thing you want is to loose all your teeth.