Understanding and Managing Gum Disease: Early Intervention for Oral Health
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common oral health concern that could cause pain, discomfort, and bad breath, as well as more severe health issues over time. Fortunately, early intervention could help you manage gum disease and stop it from progressing.
Recognizing Gum Disease Symptoms
If you think you have signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums, pain when eating, soreness, or loose teeth, it’s important to meet with your dentist here in Ocala and learn about some prevention tips so you can begin treatment if necessary.
Can Gum Disease Be Cured?
In most cases, gum disease can’t be cured. However, gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is entirely reversible through improved oral hygiene habits and dental cleanings. When you have gingivitis, bacteria infect your gums, leaving them red and inflamed.
If you catch your gum disease at this point, you could treat it by killing the bacteria. Then, the inflammation in your gums should go away. As gum disease progresses, bacteria spread into the supporting bone and tissue that keeps your teeth in place.
In severe cases, you may even begin losing teeth. Treatment may regenerate some of the tissue, but it’s unlikely to repair the damage completely. Fortunately, effective intervention can stop the progression of the disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Typically, plaque causes gum disease. When food becomes lodged between the gums and teeth and plaque builds up, bacteria spread. That bacteria may infect the gums, leading to periodontal disease.
Inadequate oral hygiene practices often play a central role in causing gum disease. However, it’s important to understand additional risk factors so you know whether you need to take extra precautions. Risk factors of gum disease include:
- Family history of gum disease
- Hormonal changes
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heart disease
Gum Disease Prevention
You could prevent the development of gum disease by adopting consistent oral hygiene and health habits. That starts with brushing and flossing regularly. You should brush your teeth two to three times daily with fluoridated toothpaste. Some dentists recommend brushing soon after meals, if possible.
It’s also important to floss at least once daily so food doesn’t stay trapped between your teeth. Incorporating an anti-bacterial mouthwash into your hygiene routine could also reduce the spread of bacteria.
Schedule regular cleanings and exams with your dentist to catch any signs of gum disease early and remove hardened plaque. Depending on your health concerns, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits. Tobacco use could significantly increase your chances of developing gum disease, so quitting could make a big difference in your oral health.
Treating Gum Disease
While gum disease isn’t always curable, treatment could stop the spread and minimize symptoms. Periodontists—dentists specializing in gum disease—offer a wide range of potential gum disease treatments for different severities and patient preferences.
A deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing removes plaque, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to your root. Scaling and root planing effectively treat mild gum disease before bone or tissue loss has occurred.
More severe gum disease may require surgery, like gum or bone grafts. Tissue regeneration procedures often accompany the surgeries to help your body create new tissue. These procedures stop gum disease from spreading and help you regain function.
With early intervention, you could stop the spread of gum disease and, in mild cases, even reverse the damage. If you think you may have any signs of gum disease, it’s important to speak with your dentist right away.
Good oral hygiene practices could prevent gum disease from developing and help you manage symptoms. Prevention is vital, but various treatments could halt the progression of even severe gum disease and improve your quality of life.