What is Gum Disease?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing helps to get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden to form “tartar” which is difficult to be removed with brushing alone. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque-and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:
- Tobacco use
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Certain medications
How do I know if I have gum disease?
- Red, bleeding, and/or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Mobile/loose teeth
- Tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums
- Abscessed teeth
- Tooth loss
How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
- Brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste).
- Floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth. Or use a device such as a special brush or wooden or plastic pick recommended by a dental professional.
- Visit the dentist routinely for check-ups and professional cleaning.
- Avoid smoking.
Treatments for Gum Disease
Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options are:
- Removal of plaque and calculus by way of scaling done by your dental hygienist or dentist.
- Medications such as chlorhexidine gluconate, a mouth rinse prescribed by your dentist or hygienist to help kill the bacteria in your mouth, along with frequent cleanings.
- Surgery may be necessary in certain cases to stop, halt, or minimize the progression of periodontal disease. Surgery is also used to replace bone that was lost in advanced stages of the disease.
It is important to take good care of your gums to make sure that germs can be eliminated and gum disease can be avoided. Careless attitudes in cleaning the teeth and gums can lead to gum disease which is painful and leading to problems. If you cannot control the problems of gum disease then you must seek help from a dentist.