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Ways to Avoid Gum Disease

Ways to Avoid Gum Disease

Gum disease, often called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue surrounding your tooth roots. You open the door for an infection to take hold if you’re lax with your oral hygiene — failing to brush, floss, and get regular dental check-ups. 

Despite the United States’ status as a first-world country, our dental health leaves much to be desired. About 50% of adults over 30 have mild-to-severe symptoms of periodontal disease, and it’s the biggest cause of tooth loss by far.

At Hometown Family Dental Centers, with locations in Fayetteville, Vass, and Raeford, North Carolina, our expert dental professionals are passionate about your dental health and helping you prevent gum disease. Here, we provide some information about the condition and ways you can avoid developing it.

What causes gum disease, and how does it progress?

Your gums are a major player in your oral health. They provide stability for your teeth and allow them to function without moving out of place. If the tissue becomes damaged, it can’t do its job, leading to loose teeth and tooth loss.

Gum disease starts with the bacteria in your mouth. Some are beneficial, but some aren’t. If you fail to brush and floss regularly and properly, the bad bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates in the food debris, building up into a sticky plaque. 

Bacteria also produce acid as a byproduct, etching tooth enamel and irritating gums. The gums turn red and tender, and you’ll notice light bleeding when you brush. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.

If you fail to treat gingivitis, the plaque film hardens into a calcified tartar that extends below your gum line. Not only can your brush not reach that area, but while it’s under the tissue, the tartar causes even more inflammation. 

Gingivitis advances to periodontitis, where the bacteria start to produce toxins. Your gums swell and become dusky red, becoming painful when you eat. Next, the gums begin to recess (pull away from your tooth roots), creating deep pockets where bacteria and tartar continue to build up.

If you still fail to address the problem, the gums can pull completely away from the roots, exposing them. Your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold because the underlying nerve is irritated, and the connective tissue that holds your teeth in place weakens. 

Permanent teeth loosen in their sockets and may even fall out. The persistent infection can move into the bone tissue beneath the root, destroying parts of your jaw.

Ways to avoid gum disease

Aside from improving your dental habits, there are additional ways to avoid gum disease:

If you know your risk factors, you know in which areas you need to put your efforts.

How can you treat gum disease?

How you treat gum disease depends on the seriousness of your problem.

Deep, professional dental cleaning

Treatment starts with scaling and root planing, which removes all traces of plaque, tartar, and bacteria. For scaling, we scrape the tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and under your gum line with a dental instrument. For root planing, we smooth the root surfaces, making it difficult for bacteria to stick to them. It also allows for proper healing.

Gum grafting

If your gums have receded substantially from your tooth roots, we may take tissue from the roof of your mouth and place it over damaged areas, allowing them to heal.

Do you know how healthy your mouth is? Do you need help implementing a good oral hygiene plan? Hometown Family Dental Centers can help. To get started, contact our office by phone or on the website.

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