An estimated 47.2% of Americans have mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis (the advance form of periodontal disease, or gum disease) according to the CDC. The effects of periodontal disease range from gum inflammation to major damage to the tissue ad bone that supports your teeth.
What Cause Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease begins when plaque builds on your teeth. Plaque forms when sugary or starchy foods react with the bacteria that are found in your mouth. If plaque stays on your teeth for longer than a couple days, it can harden under your gum line and become tartar.
The most common sign of tartar is a yellowish, brownish color to the teeth and gums. The longer these remain on your teeth, the more damage they can do. At first they may cause irritated gums, but eventually, this irritation can turn into gingivitis (a mild form of periodontal disease).
Untreated gingivitis can cause gums to pull away from teeth and develop into pockets, which fill with more bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Eventually, this can destroy tissue and bone, which may even cause your teeth to loosen. In some cases, teeth may need to be removed.
Other risk factors in developing gum disease include smoking, hormonal changes (in women), diabetes, genetics, and certain medications.
Signs of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease can affect anyone, but usually the first signs are apparent when people are in their 30s or 40s. Signs to look for include continuous bad breath, sensitive teeth, loose or shifting teeth, receding gums, red or swollen gums, gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing.
Gum disease and gingivitis can affect certain teeth and you may not notice these signs. Only a dentist can identify periodontal disease and determine the course of treatment.
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How To Treat Gum Disease?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by brushing and flossing your teeth daily. After tartar builds up, the only way to remove it is by seeing your dentist. Doing these steps can prevent gingivitis from developing which should prevent periodontitis.
If you have periodontitis, your dentist will recommend the best methods to treat it. You may be prescribed prescription mouthwash, oral antibiotics, or other medications to control the infection. If the periodontitis is severe enough you may be a candidate for surgery to remove tartar deposits or reduce pockets. Consult a dentist today if you believe you have a form of periodontal disease.
David Wilhite is a Plano Dentist specializing in gum disease treatment with over 30 years of experience in general and cosmetic dentistry. He can help you with everything from a consultation, to a check-up, to cleaning, whitening, and full mouth restoration.
Together we will transform your smile!