Do you know which of the following is most likely to cause you to lose teeth?
□ Tooth decay/cavities
If you picked gum disease, then you are right. Periodontal problems are the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
By some estimates, up to 80 percent of the population may have some form of gum disease at any time. We hope this helps you understand why we take gum disease seriously at Newingham Dental Center. We also hope the patients who visit our Birmingham, MI, dentist office take it seriously, too.
Today, we want to remind you what the signs and symptoms of gum disease are. We also want to discuss ways we can help you treat and fight periodontal disease. That should include regular dental cleanings and exams.
Gum Disease: What To Watch For
We hope that you are brushing and flossing your teeth daily. First, this removes bacteria and plaque, which cause gum disease. Second, they can help reveal if you have gum disease.
The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this stage, you often can reverse gum disease by improving your oral hygiene routine.
So what are the signs of gingivitis?
▸ Gums that are redder than usual
▸ Gums that appear swollen
▸ Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
If your gums bleed when you floss, there’s a decent chance that you aren’t flossing daily. If you start doing this (in addition to brushing twice daily), you may notice that the bleeding stops. When your gums are healthy they appear pink and feel firm.
If you don’t do anything about your gingivitis, it can lead to a more advanced form or gum disease. This is called periodontitis. This should only be treated by dental professionals, like our team at Newingham Dental Center.
What are the signs of periodontitis?
▸ Gums that bleed easily
▸ Gums that feel sore or tender
▸ Bad breath that won’t go away or a bad taste in your mouth
▸ Gums that are receding or separating from your teeth
▸ Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
As you can see, the effects of untreated gum disease get worse and worse. In the late stages, the damage to your gums can expose the roots of your teeth and the bone holding your teeth in place.
If you notice any of these symptoms, make plans to visit us as soon as you are able.
Treating Gum Disease
How we treat gum disease will depend on how advanced it is.
We may start by testing your saliva. This can give us a clue about the potential causes of your gum disease.
Often another of our early steps is a procedure called scaling and root planing. If you’ve had professional dental cleanings, then you are familiar with the scaler. This is a tool with small hooks on the ends. Dentists and dental hygienists use these tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup on teeth.
With scaling and root planing, we go one step further to give patients a deep cleaning. This is how we remove plaque and tartar below the gumline. This helps to prevent the infection from getting worse.
To remove the remaining bacteria, we may recommend using CariFree mouthrinse or an antibiotic.
If your gum disease has reached a more advanced stage, then we may refer you to a specialist for care. We hope you never allow your gums to reach that point, but if they do, we will guide you where you can get the help you need.
Keeping Gum Disease Under Control
It’s a fact that the bacteria that cause gum disease already live in your mouth. This also is why brushing and flossing correctly are so important.
When you brush, scrub your teeth for two minutes, two times every day with a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to clean your teeth on all sides. Flossing daily is equally important since this is how you remove food particles and plaque formations between your teeth and gums.
And remember to keep your regular appointments for cleanings and exams at our Birmingham, MI, dentist office. Our professionals will work with you to prevent gum disease. And if we see signs of gum disease, we can help you get treated as soon as possible.