Your gums should be pink in color, healthy-looking, and create a tight seal around your teeth. If they don’t, you may be one of the millions of Americans afflicted with gum disease, or periodontal disease. In fact, even if your gums do feel and look just fine, you aren’t in the clear.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease is an epidemic, with an astonishing 50% of Americans aged 30 or older suffering from periodontitis, the more severe form.
Regular professional cleanings and exams are critical to teeth and gum health. At Complete Health Dentistry of WNY in Buffalo, NY, we will be able to catch periodontal disease in its earliest stages, before you even notice symptoms. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online contact form or call 716-272-1257.
What Is Gum Disease?
Like tooth decay, periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar in your mouth. There are two categories, which are really just differences in severity. Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease, in which bacteria begin to cause an inflammatory response in your gums. What’s especially insidious about gingivitis is that often presents no symptoms at all. As your gum disease progresses into the more severe periodontitis, it can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. And research suggests that periodontal disease has consequences beyond the mouth, increasing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other systemic problems.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
If you have gingivitis, you may not notice symptoms on your own. At TK DENTAL CARE, we conduct a thorough examination at every checkup and are able to spot gum disease in its earliest stages, when it’s easiest to turn around. Eventually, untreated periodontal disease will lead to symptoms, including:
- Red, swollen, and inflamed gums
- Bleeding during brushing or flossing
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- “Pockets” forming between the gumline and teeth
- Loose teeth
- Change in your bite, or the way your teeth fit together
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria, and the key to preventing it is to practice proper oral hygiene. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day, including at the gumline
- Flossing at least once a day
- Using mouthwash
- Visiting the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and exam
If you smoke, this is just one of many reasons to kick the habit. Smokers are much more susceptible to periodontal disease and other infections.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
How your periodontal disease is treated depends on the severity of your case. Early-stage gingivitis may be turned around with an excellent oral hygiene routine at home and regular dental cleanings. Treatments for more severe cases may include:
- A deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing
- Surgery, including flap/pocket reduction surgery and grafting procedures
If you live in the Buffalo, NY area and have noticed symptoms of gum disease, call Complete Health Dentistry at 716-272-1257. You may also get in touch with us through our online form. The earliest periodontal disease is caught, the easier it is to treat, so don’t put it off!