Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a term that covers a range of conditions linked to inflammation of the tissues surrounding your teeth. It is a condition experienced by millions of people and can lead to severe issues. Some of these include lost teeth and infections that spread to other parts of the body. But these conditions do not surface overnight. Familiarizing yourself with the early signs is the most effective way to avoid the dangers that come with serious cases.
Gingivitis: The Earliest Stage of Periodontal Disease
The mildest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis, a condition that affects around one in two people. While the early stages associate mainly with appearance, rather than pain, early cases often go unnoticed. Leaving the issue untreated will lead to severe cases of periodontitis. This is the stage where tooth loss and other major troubles can develop, including pain.
Gingivitis can affect anybody at any stage of life, but the likelihood can increase due to other factors including:
- Pregnancy & hormonal changes
- Reduced immunity
- Poor nutrition
- Some medication
- Misaligned teeth
- Problematic mouth appliances
While all of these issues can play a role the biggest culprit behind gingivitis and periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene. When plaque remains on the tooth surface it hardens into tartar, which inflames the gums due to harmful bacteria. The infection will soon follow.
Gingivitis: Symptoms & Prevention
Periodontal disease is likely to generate pain and discomfort, but gingivitis often goes undetected due to a lack of symptoms. Nonetheless, there are several key indicators that suggest the presence of gingivitis. They include;
- Gum bleeding when brushing
- Swollen gums
- Redness of the gums
- Gum tenderness
- Mouth sores
- Bad breath
Most of those issues can be associated with other conditions too. However, gingivitis is one of the more common sources, which is why any of those symptoms should be seen as an incentive to seek treatment.
In the meantime, though, gingivitis can be prevented through good oral hygiene. This should involve brushing twice per day, flossing, and using mouthwash. It’s also important to change your toothbrush (or brush heads) as soon as they show signs of over wear. In tandem with good care at home, regular dental cleanings are important as well.
While naturally developing plaque can be removed through good oral hygiene practices, a dentist must remove tartar. Therefore, it is essential to see a professional dental hygienist, who can remove tartar through a process known as scaling.
Deep clean scaling can reverse the damage of gingivitis but should be followed by other hygiene practices. For example, you may need improved brushing habits and the use of prescription toothpaste or mouthwashes. You should also visit the dentist at least twice per year. In severe cases of gingivitis, you may need several scaling appointments, particularly when multiple teeth have deep calculus.
Gingivitis can return, though, which is why ongoing oral hygiene is essential for beating the early signs of periodontal disease.
Schedule An Appointment Today
If you have noticed early signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment to address the issue today. We look forward to helping you improve your smile