What is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults? The answer is gum, or periodontal, disease. The early symptoms of this condition include red, irritated gums. However, untreated gum disease can worsen, leading to a host of oral health issues, including infection, bad breath, gum recession, and tooth loss.
Today, our team at Davis Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ explains how preventing gum disease can save you time, money, and invasive procedures in the future. If you do develop gum disease, we offer restorative dentistry procedures to improve your oral health.
Why Prevention Is Important
The three stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis is characterized by red, puffy, tender gums. At this point, the infection-causing bacteria remains above the gum line. Therefore, no bone loss has occurred. For this reason, gingivitis is completely reversible with a regular dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene.
Periodontitis develops if gingivitis goes untreated. At this stage, the infection that was once only above the gum line has now reached beneath the gums, causing the surrounding bone to erode.
Once this occurs, brushing and flossing cannot reach the problematic areas. As a result, professional treatments, such as scaling and root planing, are required.
As gum disease progresses, the situation becomes severe. The infection continues to wear away the gum tissue, creating deep pockets around the roots of the teeth.
At this point, gum surgery is necessary. This involves moving the gums back so that the infection can be cleaned out effectively. Once complete, the gums are repositioned and sutured into place.
As you can see, gum disease is much easier (and more affordable) to treat when detected early. Prevention can keep your teeth and gums healthy for many years to come.
Preventing Gum Disease
Even though certain individuals are genetically prone to gum disease, there are still things you can do to prevent the condition from having a negative impact on your oral health. The America Academy of Periodontology recommends that patients:
- Brush and floss routinely: Disease-causing bacteria breed on the plaque deposits left behind on the teeth. Therefore, it is important to brush after every meal and floss once a day. Remember to brush or scrape your tongue as well.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash: An alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and rinse away debris left behind by brushing and flossing.
- Know their risk: Genetics, diet, tobacco, use, and age are all factors that can increase the risk for periodontal disease. If any of these factors affect you, be sure to speak to your dentist about a personalized preventative plan.
- Attend routine dental examinations: Biannual examinations and cleanings are essential for long-lasting oral health. During these visits, your dentist can check for signs of gum disease.
- See a periodontist if necessary: If you are prone to gum disease, your dentist may recommend that you see a periodontist for a comprehensive evaluation.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
Do your gums bleed when you brush? Is your gum tissue red, swollen, or tender? If so, you gum disease may be the culprit. To prevent the condition from worsening, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Davis. Call our office at (480) 595-1300 or contact us online anytime.