Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease where the gums become red, swollen, and bleed. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can be eliminated completely by daily brushing (twice a day) and flossing (once a day at night before brushing). Periodontal disease is what occurs if gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontal disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each periodic check up, we will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the pace between your teeth and gums.
Certain factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
• Crooked teeth
• Bridges that no longer fit properly
• Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
• Gaps between teeth
• Old fillings
• Smoking or using chewing tobacco
While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:
• Gums that bleed easily
• Red, swollen, tender gums
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath or bad taste
• Pus between your teeth and gums
• Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
• Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, floss daily, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
If you have any questions about gum disease or think you may have periodontal disease, give us a call. We will perform an exam to help you figure out if further action is needed and restore you back to a healthy periodontal state.