Gum disease can impact anyone, even when you take impeccable care of your teeth. If caught early enough, gum disease can often be reversed. Once it progresses, however, it can be more difficult to manage. The following are some things you need to know about gum disease:
How Do You Know if You Have Gum Disease?
There are some clear signs of gum disease. Sensitive teeth and gums are among the most common symptoms. Constant bleeding gums that are sore are also indicative of gum disease. If you have pain while you chew, receding gums, or have lost teeth due to poor gum health, you also likely have gum disease. Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms can also be attributed to other health concerns. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist right away.
How Do You Develop Gum Disease?
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. Plaque harbors bacteria that live on the sugars left in your mouth when you do not brush or floss regularly. Plaque develops acid that breaks down the teeth and inflames the gums. You can also develop gum disease when you do not have professional teeth cleanings at the dentist regularly.
For some, genetics also play a part in developing gum disease. Your dentist will take a medical history from you on your first visit. If you or anyone in your immediate family has chronic gum disease, it is important that your dentist know so you can attack it head-on before it becomes problematic.
How Can You Reverse Gum Disease?
When you catch gum disease in its early stage, you can restore your gum health with a good oral hygiene routine. You need twice-yearly cleanings with your dentist, along with daily brushing and flossing. During a cleaning, the hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. This will help the gums begin to heal.
If your gum disease is more advanced, it cannot be reversed. However, the dentist can help you avoid some of the damage with special treatment.
To help mitigate the more damaging impacts of progressive gum disease, the dentist will perform scaling and root planing. This is the process that deep cleans the pockets in your gums. This helps to smooth the roots of the teeth to help the gums reattach after they have receded. This process will remove hardened tarter and help encourage gum healing.