Gum disease is a common dental problem that many adults get diagnosed with. Even those who maintain good oral hygiene can get gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to many additional issues. It is important that gum disease gets diagnosed early so that it can be treated before it advances to more serious levels.
At Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge, we can help keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible — helping you avoid gum disease as much as possible. We can also help treat your gum disease if you are diagnosed with this infection. We believe that it is important for you to understand what gum disease is, how and why it occurs, and what can happen if it is left untreated. Read on to learn more about gum disease and contact Aspen Hill Dental to schedule an appointment today.
What Is Gum Disease?
As already mentioned, gum disease is an infection of the gums. Gum disease typically occurs when plaque begins to build up and harden on the teeth. The gums that hold your teeth in place can develop a gap between the tooth and gum when irritated. This gap can become enlarged and allows food and bacteria to get trapped around the tooth, causing gum disease. There are a few different stages of gum disease to be aware of.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. The best way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain good oral hygiene and keep your teeth clean. If you do have gingivitis and it is caught early on, it can be treated with a professional teeth cleaning, called scaling. Gingivitis will typically clear up if you maintain good dental habits and get regular checkups.
If gum disease is not caught in the early stages, it can advance to periodontitis. This is a more serious condition in which the gums pull away from the tooth and form pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets and can lead to infection and potential bone loss. Your teeth could become loose and need to be extracted. To avoid gum disease advancing to periodontitis, it is important that you get it diagnosed in the early stages.
Having poor oral hygiene is a major risk factor for developing gum disease. It is important that you brush your teeth, floss, and get dental cleanings regularly to help keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent gum disease.
Smoking also increases your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking disrupts the normal function of the gum tissues and makes you more vulnerable to infections in your mouth, increasing your risk of gum disease.
Some other factors that can increase your chances of developing gum disease include diabetes, certain medications that lead to dry mouth, vitamin C deficiency, teeth that overlap or are crooked, and a family history of gum disease. Hormonal changes in women, especially during pregnancy, can also increase the risk of gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
There are many symptoms of gum disease to be aware of and look out for to catch it in the early stages. Symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Pain in your mouth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Pain when chewing
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure that you catch gum disease in the early stages and have a better chance of treating it easily.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Gum disease needs to be treated by a dental professional. If left untreated, it can lead to a number of different oral and health issues. There are a few methods that can be used to treat gum disease.
Scaling is a method of cleaning your teeth that removes tartar and bacteria from the surface of the teeth and beneath the gums. This treatment method is done using a laser or ultrasonic device. Root planing is another treatment method that involves smoothing out the rough surface of the roots of your teeth, which helps the gums reattach to your tooth.
Medication can also be used to help treat gum disease. While there is no medication that will magically rid your mouth of gum disease, they can help to control the infection and make it easier to treat.
In more serious cases of periodontitis, surgery may be the best method of treatment. Some of the surgeries that may be recommended include flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and tissues stimulating proteins.
Once your gum disease has been treated, it is extremely important for you to start ensuring that you are maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent getting gum disease again.
Health Issues Caused By Gum Disease
Not only can gum disease cause issues with your teeth, but it can lead to a number of other issues. The bacteria that get stuck between your gums and teeth can enter the bloodstream, moving throughout the rest of the body and affecting other organs and your health.
Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature birth. Periodontal disease may increase inflammation throughout the body, which is an underlying problem in diseases such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Since periodontal disease is linked to so many more serious health issues, it is important that you get it treated as early as possible.
If you notice any of the symptoms of gum disease or you simply want to prevent as much as possible, be sure to schedule an appointment at Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge. We can provide gum disease treatment or clean your teeth to help prevent the disease in the first place. Gum disease is common, but it is something you want to try avoiding as much as possible. By maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental cleanings, you can keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Contact us today with any questions you may have.