One of the most important parts of our oral health is our gums. Without proper cleaning and care, it is possible to develop gum disease. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of gum disease so that it can be caught as early as possible and treated. Gum disease starts as a minor issue, but over time it can cause major oral health issues and may even need surgery to be corrected.
Here are some facts and tips about gum disease to help you stay healthy.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is primarily caused by the buildup of plaque, bacteria that gathers on teeth and gums and hardens over time. Food debris can also irritate and worsen the buildup of plaque.
Brushing and flossing properly clear food debris and bacteria around the teeth and gums and keep them nice and healthy. However, forgetting to brush and floss or not brushing and flossing the right way leaves pockets of bacteria that build up over time. You may not notice any symptoms right away either, which is what makes gum disease tricky to deal with. Once it has progressed beyond the initial stages, it becomes harder to treat.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Thankfully, if you wind up with gum disease, there are a few ways to treat it, depending on how bad it has gotten.
Your dentist may prescribe a special oral rinse for the mildest cases combined with your routine brushing and flossing. This oral rinse kills germs and bacteria, so your gums don’t get any worse.
Suppose your gums are showing signs of more moderate gum disease. In that case, the dentist may recommend a scaling and root planing procedure, essentially a deep cleaning that cleans the pockets of the gums as well as the base of the gum line to get rid of the bacteria and tartar buildup before the gum disease can start causing serious problems.
Once gum disease progresses to its most serious stage, it starts to cause gum tissue recession and can even eat away at the bone beneath the gums. If this happens, then surgical correction is necessary for the form of a bone graft and gum graft. Though this will restore some of the damage done, it is not a permanent fix, and gum disease can still cause tooth loss and other issues.
If you think you may be developing gum disease, you must talk with your dentist about what you can do to treat it.