Gum disease is one of the most common reasons why adults lose their teeth. But the good news is, if you know your enemy, you can largely stop it in its tracks, and save your teeth in the process. It is true, of course, that prevention is the best weapon for maintaining great dental health!
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when the tissue surrounding your teeth become swollen, sore, and infected. The tricky part is, because it’s often painless, you might not even know you have it!
If gum disease is allowed to run its course unchecked, it could progress to more serious disease, called periodontitis. This condition can involve the loss of the tissue and bone that supports the teeth, increasing your risk of tooth loss.
What is The Cause of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria that is always forming on your teeth. These bacteria move along the gum-line and can cause inflammation and infection. This can weaken the support for your teeth, and contribute to decay of the tooth itself.
Other contributing factors include smoking, chewing tobacco, teeth that fit too tightly together to keep clean, pregnancy, diabetes, poor genetics, and some medications.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed easily could be sign of gum disease. If you notice that your gums usually bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, ask your dentist if gum disease is the cause.
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender are not normal and healthy. Healthy gums should be pink and firm.
- Loose permanent teeth are a warning sign that something is amiss. Once your permanent adult teeth come up in childhood, they should remain firmly affixed to your gums. If they are not, it is likely a sign that your gums are in rough shape. You may also notice that your teeth no longer fit together quite right when you bite.
- If your dentures no longer fit properly, it might be gum disease that’s messing things up for you. Dentures simply won’t fit as well over swollen, puffy, gums.
- If your breath is never fresh, it might be caused by diseased gums. For some people, all they notice is a chronic bad taste in their mouth. The good news is that by treating your gums, you have a great shot at eliminating the social embarrassment of bad breath too!
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth are another warning sign. Healthy gums fit snugly against the teeth with no unsightly gaps.
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t try to handle this without consulting your dentist – you need to confirm if it’s a simple case of gum disease, or something requiring other treatment. The Canadian Dental Association website is also great for learning more about gum disease.
How to Treat and Prevent Gum Disease
First, if you suspect you have a problem with gum disease, consult with your dentist sooner rather than later. It’s always easier to nip a small problem in the bud, than to let it fester into something serious.
For mild cases, it can likely be reversed simply by adhering to best practices with brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. Do a thorough job of brushing your teeth at least twice per day, floss at least once per day, and use a good therapeutic mouthwash.
More serious cases may require specialty prescription mouthwashes, or more complicated treatments.
Preventing Gum Disease is Important
Preventing gum disease will contribute to a healthier mouth. You’ll have less tooth decay, and dramatically lessen your odds of losing your adult teeth as you get older. And there are the obvious social benefits to having a beautiful smile and fresh breath that go hand-in-hand with healthy gums too!
If you’re concerned about your dental health and live in the Oakville, Burlington, Milton or surrounding area – contact Reflections Dental today and meet one of our experienced dentists in our new spa inspired dental clinic!