Brushing helps keep your teeth healthy, but don’t forget about your gums. When you don’t floss or go for routine cleanings, you can end up developing gum disease. While this disease starts out mild, it can become a serious problem that requires extensive treatment to lower the risk of complications.
Causes of Gum Disease
You can develop gum disease when bacteria on your teeth forms plaque and tartar. The bacteria from plaque and tartar can invade your gum tissue, causing inflammation and damage. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, a mild inflammation of the gums. When you do not treat gingivitis, it can become periodontal disease, which occurs when bacteria gets below the gumline and attacks the bone in your jaw. This causes the bone to gradually deteriorate, which can cause serious dental problems and other health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
It can be hard to tell that you have gum disease in the early stages, since it usually does not cause significant discomfort. You might notice some signs and symptoms of this disease, such as:
- Bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing
- Gums that have a reddish appearance or are swollen
- Gums that feel tender
- Bad breath
- Teeth that have become loose in their socket
- Changes in the way your teeth line up when you bite down
- Discomfort when you chew foods
- Teeth that have a high amount of sensitivity to hot & cold temperatures
If you have any signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should seek dental care as soon as you can. Taking care of gum inflammation early helps keep it from turning into periodontal disease.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Gum disease requires professional treatment to prevent complications. When you leave gum disease untreated, it can end up increasing your risk of heart problems, infections in other parts of your body and other serious health issues. Gingivitis can usually be treated with a dental cleaning and regular flossing and brushing at home. You might also benefit from using mouthwash, toothpaste and other products that help ease gum inflammation.
When you have periodontal disease, you’ll need to undergo professional dental care. This involves scaling and root planing to get rid of plaque and tartar. If you still have gum disease, you might need to see a periodontist for more advanced treatment, such as undergoing surgery to lower your risk of tooth loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
Flossing at least twice a day helps prevent you from getting gum disease by removing food particles before they attract bacteria. You can also reduce your risk of gum disease by having routine dental cleanings done twice a year. Keep in mind that if you wear braces or another orthodontic device, it can be harder to keep your gums clean and in good condition. This makes routine orthodontic and dental appointments even more important.
If you wear an orthodontic device and have gum problems, please contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics to make an appointment. We can check your gums and help you manage gum problems before they become worse.