Article at a Glance
- Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque around the gum line.
- Early gum disease (gingivitis) may be reversible, but if untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.
- Tips for stronger, healthier gums include flossing regularly, using fluoride toothpaste, and brushing twice per day.
This month, we bring awareness to a relatively painless yet very sneaky threat to your smile. You may be surprised to learn that even the brightest, straightest smiles are not immune to the threat of gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque under and along the gum line. If it’s ignored, the plaque can lead to infection that can affect the gums, bone, and connective tissues. It’s important to understand the progression of gum disease, especially the first signs of a problem, so you can take action as soon as possible.
The early stage of gum disease is also known as gingivitis. Since gingivitis is generally painless, the first symptoms of a problem are inflammation, tenderness, redness, continual bad breath, or a little blood when brushing and flossing. The good news is that catching gum disease at this stage means there is an opportunity to reverse the damage.
As gum disease progresses to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis, symptoms are more noticeable and can become painful. Receding gums are one of the more obvious signs of advancing disease. This is where pockets form around the teeth and then the tissues and ligaments connecting the teeth to the jaw pull away. Once gum disease reaches the advanced stages, the only treatment options may be tooth extraction and even gum grafting.
Tips For Healthy Gums
You are probably wondering how to get healthier gums at this point. The best way to prevent gum disease is to develop a good oral care routine. It may take a few small alterations to your daily routine, but healthy gums are worth the extra effort!
- Floss at least once per day to reach any plaque or food your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Keep brushing twice per day and don’t forget your tongue!
- Follow-up with your dentist regularly to get your teeth cleaned by a professional.
- Choose a toothpaste with fluoride and the ADA seal of acceptance.
- Try a therapeutic mouthwash that can help prevent plaque build-up.
- If you are a smoker, it’s probably time to quit because there is a strong correlation between smoking and gum disease. It also takes longer for a smoker’s gums to heal and it’s more difficult to fight off gum infections.
Gum disease is preventable if you know how to make gums strong. If you’re worried that you may have some signs of gum disease, or it’s time for a check-up and cleaning, contact the professionals at Jefferson Dental Care to make an appointment today!