You may not have any pain or notice any symptoms but still be in the early stages of gum disease, also known as Periodontitis. This kind of disease starts with bacteria in your mouth and could lead to tooth loss and much worse: Heart attacks, strokes and diabetic complications. The good news is that once your dentist tells you about the gum disease, you have an opportunity to make some oral hygiene improvements before things get worse.
How gum disease starts:
If you don’t properly clean your teeth on a regular basis, then bacteria and food will build up around your teeth. This plaque releases acids that hurt your tooth enamel and causes decay. After 72 hours, the plaque hardens into tartar. This makes it even harder to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums. Over time, this can become Gingivitis, which is when your gums become inflamed.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. As gum disease progresses, it’s known as periodontitis. This kind of infection damages the soft tissue and can eventually destroy the bone around the teeth. It can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. In addition, it is dumping harmful bacteria directly into your bloodstream. The bacteria go everywhere in your body where you have blood supply: heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver…everywhere!
Symptoms of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums during and after tooth brushing
- Red and swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Loose or shifting teeth
How to care for your teeth if you’re in the early stages of gum disease:
Properly cleaning your teeth on a daily basis at home can usually improve the early stages of gum disease. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent professional dental cleanings. Most people typically have dental cleanings twice a year. But adding a third dental cleaning a year could make a big difference and save you money in the long run. Preventative care is key to keeping your teeth healthy and preventing other health problems.
Another treatment option your dentist may suggest is called root scaling and planing. It’s like a deep cleaning for your teeth and gums. Your dentist may use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth while he/she removes plaque and tartar from above and below your gum line. It should not be uncomfortable.
Your dentist will help you determine the best treatment plan so you can prevent gum disease from getting worse.