Your gums play an important role in your oral health. They help protect your teeth and are a good indicator of your overall health. Each year, millions of people lose teeth due to untreated gum disease. In fact, in the older population, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Early detection of the problem and treatment can restore your oral health and minimize the possibility of tooth loss.
Treatment for gum disease in the early stages consists of a thorough cleaning of the teeth, removing plaque and tartar and smoothing tooth roots so the gums can reattach. Treatment may also include using special toothpaste and/or mouthwash to help clear up infection.
In addition to gum disease causing significant dental problems, it has also been linked to several serious health issues. Studies have shown heart problems, hypertension, certain issues with pregnancy, diabetes and other health concerns to be connected with gum health. Keeping your gums healthy or treating diseased gums may not eliminate other health concerns; however, it will not add to them, and it is an important factor in optimum oral health.
Symptoms and Causes of Periodontal Disease
The first signs of gum disease are puffy or swollen gums. They may appear bright pink or red and bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. In its earliest stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. One of the leading causes of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene.
There are also some medications and certain health conditions that can also predispose an individual to periodontal disease. Genetics can play a role, too, and hormonal fluctuations can cause flareups. Regular dental checkups and cleanings will help reduce the impact of gum disease.
It begins with a buildup of plaque, which turns into the brownish yellow substance known as tartar, or calculus. This hard substance is not removed by brushing or flossing. Dental instruments designed to remove it must be used to thoroughly clean affected teeth.
Without the intervention of a professional cleaning, the buildup of tartar pushes the gums away from the teeth. Areas of infection are created, and the battle between the body’s immune system and the bacteria from the infection create toxins. These chemicals eventually begin to degrade gum tissue and cause the bone to dissolve. This process loosens teeth and eventually, the weakened bone leads to tooth loss.
Prevent tooth loss by getting gum disease treated in its earliest stages. In fact, you can prevent gingivitis from developing by practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining a regular cycle of visits to the dentist for examination and cleaning. Make your appointment with Rivers + West Family Dentistry today to keep on top of your oral health.