Gum disease is a relatively common issue that is not always well-understood. It is usually avoidable by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, but this is not always the case. If you have recently found out that you or a loved one has the early signs of gum disease, you may have questions about how this happened and what can be done about it. The following is a list of some of the most common questions we are asked as well as the answers.
What Exactly is Gum Disease and What Causes It?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It is almost always preventable, but it is the most common cause of tooth loss for adults. The disease develops when plaque builds up just below your gum line. Untreated, this will cause tiny pockets that form, which separate the gum from your teeth. This allows things to more easily penetrate your gums.
The biggest cause of this condition is not maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine. Other risk factors include:
- Being pregnant
- Having crooked teeth
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Having diabetes
- Being genetically predisposed
- Having old dental fillings
- Taking certain medications (certain birth control pills, steroids, cancer therapy drugs, and more)
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
Seeing our dentist regularly is the best way to know if you begin to develop the symptoms of this condition. Symptoms that you can look out for at home include:
- Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing
- Swollen gums that look redder than usual
- Gums receding
- Pain while chewing
- Bad breath
- Very sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
Gum disease can be effectively reversed, but only if it is caught in the early stages. Early-stage gum disease is typically called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can typically only be managed rather than treated. Treatment for gum disease involves having the plaque carefully removed by a dentist. As long as the disease has not progressed too far, your gums will be able to heal themselves once the plaque is gone. It will be extra important to brush and floss regularly afterward in order to prevent the disease from coming back.
Have more questions about gum disease or ready to start treatment? Schedule a consultation at Parkwood Dental. We will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have and can develop a treatment plan that is tailor-made for your situation. Contact us today to book your dental appointment in West Bradenton or East Bradenton.