Chances are you have Gum Disease and don’t know it.
Gum disease is sneaky. You may or may not notice subtle changes along your teeth. A little bleeding here and there, you’ve been told you have a few “pockets”, your breath may not always be the freshest, but yet nothing hurts.
Well you may be one of the nearly 80% of adults that have some form of gum disease. If you want us to, we can help.
What causes gum disease?
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is caused by bacteria in plaque. If not consistently removed, these bacteria build up; infect your teeth, gums, and eventually the bone that supports your teeth – making gum disease the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. This disease has three stages of progression: gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis; the longer the disease has to advance the more non reversible damage it causes.
- Gingivitis is contained in the softer gum tissues and can be reversible.
- Periodontitis begins to break down the bone around the teeth and is not reversible but can be halted.
- Advanced periodontitis involves more infection, more loss of bone and threatens loss of your teeth.
Common signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease usually is not painful in its early stages, be watchful for these symptoms:
- Red tender, and swollen gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Gum line is receding, or the gum pulls away from the teeth forming pockets
- Changes in your bite or teeth alignment, loose teeth
- In later stages, pain and swelling around a tooth
What’s the big deal it doesn’t hurt? You’re General Health
You can’t separate your mouth from the rest of your body. If you don’t mind that gum disease might lead to premature loss of teeth, here are other health issues that can be affected:
- In diabetics, increased blood sugars worsen periodontal disease, and increased periodontal disease increases blood sugars, therefore you need better control of both.
- Gum disease has a link to heart disease, arterial diseases in particular.
- Gum disease has a link to arthritis.
- Gum disease has a link to preterm low birth rate babies.
Because the bacteria associated with gum disease create inflammation, periodontal disease increases the “inflammatory burden “in your body. This can contribute to other inflammatory diseases in the lungs, kidneys and other systems not listed above.
Many factors can contribute to increased chances of gum disease:
- Gums that bleed with bushing or flossing
- Teeth are loose or gums are receded
- History of Diabetes
- Past gum disease
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Family history of gum disease, genetic component
- Older than age 40
- Infrequent dental care
Below are some generalities that obviously would be customized for any given situation based on your disease presentation, further disease risk, desires, lifestyle and budget.
Healthy gums- Great news you’re doing many things right. You may be able to continue regular preventive cleanings on a 1-2 per year schedule. Your prognosis for continued gum health is strong.
Gingivitis-OK news, your gums could be better. Your condition is reversible if you’re willing to make some changes in homecare and habits. You should be seen more regularly, at least 2 times per year. A closer look at risk factors may be needed to keep you from slipping into the next level.
Periodontitis- Now we get concerned, your condition is progressing in a non-reversible way. Therapies should include cleaning further under the gum line, and may take multiple visits to stabilize or halt your condition. Certain medicines may be used to help. You have left the world of preventive cleanings and now require more involved therapeutic cleanings on a 3-4 month schedule to keep you from sliding farther.
Advanced Periodontitis-Now we are really concerned, your condition has jeopardized some of your teeth. More advanced therapies are needed to save the remaining teeth. There may be a need for a gum specialist. You are at the highest risk for continued tooth loss. We must make some changes.
Other procedures- Many procedures exist for cosmetic correction and protection of root surfaces like gum grafting.
At Generations Dental we strive to keep you at or near the top of the above scenarios of gum health.
Benefits of Healthy Gums
Healthy beautiful gums are half the equation to having that healthy beautiful smile.
- Beautiful pink tissues that cover the teeth where they are supposed to
- Strong healthy bone supporting the roots of your teeth.
- Fresh breath and taste
- Control of the bacteria that cause disease
Let our team at Generations Dental help maintain or regain your gum health and keep you smiling.