Gum disease can be very serious and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and extraction in adults. When caught in its earliest stage, called gingivitis, gum disease can be reversed. If left untreated, gum disease can quickly progress into periodontitis, which can cause decay, gums to separate from the teeth, and eventually tooth loss. Once gum disease progresses into periodontitis, treatment can become quite extensive and involve surgery. In addition, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Gum disease often doesn’t present with symptoms or cause discomfort until it has advanced to periodontitis. Because of this, many patients are unaware they even have it in the gingivitis stage.
Gingivitis is caused by plaque that is hidden between the pockets where the tooth meets the gum. When the plaque builds up, it causes the gums to become inflamed. During the gingivitis stage, many patients end up with red or swollen gums that often bleed when you are brushing your teeth. It is important to note that it is never normal for your gums to bleed. Gingivitis does not typically cause pain, and therefore often goes undiagnosed. It is imperative that you call and schedule an appointment at the first sign of gum disease.
Once the disease progresses, the pockets become deeper and begin to destroy the bone structure. When it has progressed to full blown periodontal disease, it is no longer considered curable.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice proper oral hygiene.
- Make sure to brush at least twice each day and floss once each day.
- Stay regular with twice-annual dental visits to monitor the mouth for early signs of gum disease.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Quit smoking and use of any tobacco products.
If you do end up with gingivitis, treatment includes a thorough professional cleaning to rid the gums of plaque and tartar. As long as you continue with good oral health at home, your gingivitis should resolve itself.
If you are currently are experiencing any symptoms of gingivitis, or haven’t had a professional dental examination or cleaning in a while, call us today to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located at 303 Brookside Ave., Redlands, CA 92373.