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Redland residents ask, "How can I prevent and manage gum disease?"

What do you see when you open your mouth? You see your teeth, gums, a tongue, and the inside of your cheek. However, there's a lot more to your mouth that what you can identify. Your mouth is home to bacteria, mucus, plaque, and other microscopic organisms. Proper and frequent brushing and flossing help minimize the bacteria and plaque, but unfortunately it's just not possible to reach every nook and cranny of your mouth without professional cleaning.

Many times when patients in Redlands think about plaque and tartar, their concern is over cavities and tooth decay. While tooth decay can be an effect of plaque that remains on the teeth, gum disease is another critical concern. Gum disease is quite common in adult dental patients.

There are several stages of gum disease. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease in which the gums become swollen, red, and begin to bleed. If gingivitis is not treated, it can cause further inflammation of the gums leading to the gums loosening from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. The more advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis, can progress even further if the infection spreads, leading to a breakdown of the gums, bone, and tissue that support the teeth. This can lead to teeth needing to be extracted because they become loose.

It may sound scary, but the good news is that gum disease is preventable and simple to maintain, if caught quickly. Gum disease can be controlled with proper brushing and flossing to prevent the plaque and bacteria from settling into the teeth. Additionally it is important to have dental checkups because your dental hygienist will be able to remove the plaque that you can't reach with a regular toothbrush and floss.

If you do have gum disease, it's important to work with your dentist to correct it and maintain a healthy mouth. Dr. Terry Vines of Pure Gold Professionals in Dentistry offers several options for treating gum disease including deep cleaning, medications, or surgery. The exact method of treatment depends on the unique needs of each patient.

If you are experiencing inflammation, bleeding, or soreness of your gums, you could have a form of gum disease. For diagnosis and treatment, call Dr. Terry Vines to schedule an appointment.

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