Defending Against Gum Disease

Looking for gum disease, a young man examines his gums at the mirror.

A man looks at his teeth and gums in a mirror for signs of gum disease. Caption: Keep an eye out for your gum health! Come in for regular exams and cleanings.

Stages of Gum Disease

The first signs of gum disease are red, swollen gums. You may see blood in the sink after you brush or on your floss string. It may seem like a passing irritation, but it’s important that you take steps to prevent the development of gum disease. These are warning signs that bacteria growth around the teeth and along the gum line is building up in your mouth. You may already have developed gingivitis, the first stage of fully developed gum disease.

A Boston periodontist, such as Dr. Guzman at Dental Partners of Boston, is the dental professional who is trained specifically to treat gum disease should it be allowed to develop after it is first detected.

Gingivitis – The Early Stage of Gum Disease

Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is caused by plaque buildup on teeth. Gingivitis is entirely reversible. When plaque isn’t removed properly through good at-home oral health care (brushing, flossing, and swishing with mouthwash), inflammation of the gums will be the result. If you notice irritation in your gums, it is time to come in for an exam and a professional cleaning. We’ll take care of the problem before it gets worse, and send you home with instructions to brush your teeth twice a day, floss between your teeth at least once a day, and to use an effective antiseptic mouthwash every day. Your habits at home are the first defense against gum disease.

Periodontitis – The Later Stages of Gum Disease

The term periodontitis is used to describe the later and more severe stages of gum disease. When gingivitis is allowed to go untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, which leads to gum recession, damage to the bones supporting your teeth, damage to the connective tissues around your teeth, and in severe cases, tooth loss.

How to Fight Gum Disease

Establishing a daily oral care routine is essential. Twice daily brushing and flossing once a day will keep plaque from causing problems. A good antiseptic mouthwash further reduces your risk of developing gum disease.

Healthy Eating Habits

Eating a healthy diet, one that is well-balanced and avoids tooth damaging foods — sugary treats, soda, and acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, and oranges — will also aid your efforts. Even bread can be damaging. Bread is full of starches, which are simple carbohydrates that hang around in your mouth and dissolve into the type of sugar that the bacteria in your mouth thrive on.

Avoid Smoking

If you are a smoker, begin reducing how much you smoke or stop smoking now for the sake of your whole body, which includes your gums. Chewing tobacco is also harmful to gum health. These, and other drugs, interfere with the normal function of gum tissue cells, making your mouth vulnerable to gum disease. Let us know if you need support kicking these habits.

Regular Dental Checkups

If plaque is not removed thoroughly, it will eventually harden and turn into tartar. Tarter is hard and crusty and appears both above and below the gum line. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing your teeth, especially tartar under the gums. It can only be removed by a dentist, periodontist, or hygienist.

Taking action to prevent gum disease will save you from facing eventual tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Home habits will make a big difference in your defense against gum disease. Your second line of defense will be regular visits to see us at Dental Partners of Boston. Exams and professional cleaning will catch gingivitis early. Develop these routines, and you will never be in danger of developing gum disease. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Posted in gum disease treatment, Your Health

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