When thinking about your oral health, it’s easy to focus all of your attention on your teeth. But the gums that support your teeth are very important too. Just like your teeth, they can be harmed by the same bacteria that causes tooth decay.
You may have heard of gum disease. It’s easy to dismiss gum disease as having swollen, red, or bleeding gums. But there’s more to it than that. Untreated gum disease can have a severe knock-on effect on your general health.
So, what do you need to know about gum disease?
We’ve compiled the top four facts about periodontal disease to help you learn to take better care of your gums.
Just like tooth decay, the cause of gum disease is bacteria that naturally live in the mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars in your food and drink and create a film that coats your mouth. This is called plaque.
The great news is that plaque is easy to get rid of. Just brush your teeth thoroughly and often. The bad news is that left to its own devices, plaque hardens to become tartar. Tartar cannot be removed at home. You’ll need to see your dentist for that.
Plaque and tartar don’t just damage your teeth. They’ll inflame your gums and eventually harm your jaw.
When you first get gum disease, you may notice your gums are a bit red, inflamed, or even bleeding. Usually, this isn’t very painful. In fact, lots of people don’t even notice they’ve got gum disease until it starts getting worse.
Regularly checking your gums for changes while you’re brushing your teeth will give you a headstart on fighting the symptoms of gum disease.
The bleeding gums are just the start of periodontal disease. This initial stage is called gingivitis. It’s easily treated by improving your oral hygiene.
Left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis. As tartar pockets form in the gums, the jaw will also be affected. Eventually, your teeth will start to work loose.
In advanced cases, many people lose their teeth or have to have them extracted.
The earlier you spot gum disease, the easier it is to treat it. But, prevention is always easier than treatment. A twice-yearly dental checkup will allow us to spot the early signs of gum disease and put a plan in place to treat it.
You’ll dramatically reduce the risk of gum disease by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dental hygienist for a regular scale and polish.
In addition to this, you should limit the amount of sugar you consume and avoid smoking and vaping.
We’re committed to every aspect of your oral health at Harley Private Dental. To prevent gum disease, schedule your hygiene appointment or routine checkup now.Back to Blog
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