Tips to help prevent and identify the signs of gum disease
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the tissue that surrounds the teeth becomes infected. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and can have a damaging impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions, which is why it is imperative that you seek dental treatment immediately. Fortunately, in most cases, gum disease is treatable and with proper dental care and hygiene, it can be avoided altogether.
Sugars and carbohydrates in our food feed the bacteria always present in the mouth and form plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on teeth. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, it becomes tartar, which is extremely difficult to remove with brushing and flossing alone. Eventually, tartar build up can break down the enamel of the tooth and cause decay. That same tartar can also affect the gums.
The earliest stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It occurs when the gum tissue becomes inflamed and irritated due to built-up plaque and tartar. Symptoms may include bleeding or discolored gums but are often so mild that it goes unnoticed. As gingivitis progresses, the gums tissue separates from the teeth and creates pockets. The disease will begin to destroy tissue and bone beneath the gum line and advance into periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more destructive than gingivitis and can be a very difficult condition to treat and control.
Proper daily oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are imperative to prevent gum disease. When brushing, it is important to spend the time to clean all surfaces of the teeth all the way down to the gum line. Consider using an electric toothbrush to help ensure proper cleaning. During your twice-yearly appointments, your dentist is able to perform a thorough evaluation of your teeth, identifying any potential problems early while they are more easily treated. In addition, professional cleanings help remove plaque and tartar that cannot be removed by brushing at home.
The health of your teeth is a crucial part of your overall wellbeing. If you are in the Dayton, OH area, call our office today to schedule your checkup appointment
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