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A healthy smile includes healthy teeth and keeping your gums healthy. If you are experiencing bleeding when brushing, loose- or separating teeth, these are all signs of gum disease and need to be addressed immediately to avoid further damage.
Half of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. “Peri” means around and the root word “dontic” means tooth; periodontal disease is just another way of saying gum disease.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and that’s the only stage that is reversible. Our dentist in Cape Coral will examine your gums to ensure they are healthy or can be repaired to support your teeth for years to come.
The bacteria in the mouth can attack the enamel of your teeth and attack the gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease, but there are other factors that can also contribute to gum disease.
Some causes of gum disease
Hormonal changes, such as those which occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation can make gums more sensitive and can make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
Illnesses can also affect the condition of your gums. These can include cancer or HIV, diseases that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar, diabetics are also at higher risk of developing infections, including cavities and periodontal disease.
And because some medications can lesson saliva flow, they can also affect oral health, since saliva helps protect teeth and gums.
Some drugs, such as anticonvulsants and anti-angina drugs, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
Gum tissue is more difficult to repair for smokers.
And poor oral hygiene habits also make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
Family history of dental disease can contribute to the development of gingivitis, as well.
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Many times, periodontal disease starts as a painless infection. There may be few symptoms. As it advances, you may have one or more signs of periodontal disease:
- Red, puffy, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Pus around the teeth
If you have any of these symptoms of periodontal disease, please call Towncare Dental Associates of Cape Coral today at (239) 214-2982.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
Did you know that the early stage of gum disease is gingivitis? This is the only stage that can be reversed with professional dental treatment and good oral hygiene at home.
If the gingivitis is not treated properly, it can lead to periodontitis. As it progresses, it can break down the tissues and bones that support the teeth, causing the gums to separate from the teeth. Professionals call these “pockets.” More bacteria gathers in the pockets, leading to further destruction of the gum tissue and bone.
Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It also has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Regular teeth cleaning, called a prophylaxis, only polishes the tooth above the gum line. To treat bacteria below that gum line, our dentist or hygienist in Cape Coral will use a technique called scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar from periodontal pockets and smooths the tooth root to remove bacteria. If necessary, an antibiotic can also be applied to treat the gum infection.
You may require more frequent teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance to treat your infected areas and keep the gum disease from advancing. Gum disease is a systemic disease and only reversible when it’s caught in the gingivitis stage.
If the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed by periodontal disease, our dentist may recommend a regenerative procedure like a tissue graft, bone graft, or tissue-stimulating proteins to regenerate bone and tissue.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
You are the first one in the line of defense against gum disease. The most effective way to prevent it is to have professional teeth cleanings at least twice a year. You will need more if you require periodontal maintenance. Proper at-home oral hygiene is mandatory. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing at least once daily will prevent tartar build-up on your teeth and below your gum line.