Did you know that about half of all Americans have gum disease? And, in adults 65 and older, over 70% of people suffer from this common, yet serious condition. So, what can you do to avoid tooth loss and keep your smile healthy your whole life long? You can follow these tips from your dentist in Marietta at Laser, Cosmetic, and Family Dentistry.
What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is an all-encompassing dental term for gums that are infected and inflamed due to oral bacteria and dental plaque. There are three main presentations:
- Gingivitis – This is, by far, the most common form of gum disease. The gingiva (gums) becomes inflamed because of plaque along the gum line. Symptoms include swollen gums, bleeding when flossing or brushing, and bad breath.
- Periodontitis – Gingivitis can turn into a more aggressive form of gum disease known as periodontitis. When this occurs, your gums pull away from your teeth, making pockets that allow bacteria, plaque, and tartar to get deeper into the tissue. This can lead to loss of the bone that supports the teeth. Red, bleeding gums are a sign of this condition.
- Advanced Periodontal Disease – In this stage, inflammation and infection becomes severe. The gum pockets around your teeth grow larger and deeper, allowing bacteria to pool around them constantly. Tooth and bone loss are highly prevalent. This stage tends to be more cyclical – with periods of rapid progression of the disease, and then times when the body (unsuccessfully) attempts to heal the gums.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
There are many easy ways to prevent and treat gum disease. Suggests the following to save your teeth and to keep your smile healthy:
- Brush & Floss – Every day, twice a day. Be sure to brush gently for two minutes (brushing for a shorter amount of time with more pressure does not get the job done). Floss twice a day, too – and rinse thoroughly to get rid of germs.
- Eat Healthy – The bacteria that causes plaque, tartar, and gum disease thrives on sugar. Eliminate sweet foods and beverages as much as possible. And, stop snacking – constantly grazing prevents saliva from remineralizing your teeth. This creates an unending onslaught of sugars that wreak havoc in your mouth. Remember: how you eat is as important as what you eat.
- Stop Smoking – Smoking and using other tobacco products leads to rapid advancement of gum disease, as well as unsightly staining – not to mention oral cancers. If you’re still engaging in this unhealthy habit, quit now.
- See Your Dentist – Taking good care of your teeth at home is no substitute for professional care. Visit your dentist to prevent and treat gum disease in Marietta. Frequent professional cleanings, scaling and root planing, laser treatments, and medicated mouthrinses can all help treat and even reverse gum disease in some instances.
Now that you have all the facts on gum disease, and you know what you can do to prevent it, schedule your appointment with Laser, Cosmetic, and Family Dentistry to keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape!