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You are the first line of defense for your healthy smile. Unfortunately, it is constantly under attack from bacteria that damages tooth enamel, gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
One of the first signs of a problem with your oral health is if your gums bleed while brushing or flossing. Don’t be alarmed – yet. About half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and you still have a chance to turn it around if caught early.
Gum disease begins with gingivitis, a mild ailment that causes irritation and swelling but can be cured. Our dentist in Clermont can provide advice on how to better your oral hygiene to eradicate gingivitis.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
When the bacteria in plaque and tartar spread below the gum line and erode tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place, the gum infection becomes more serious and needs prompt attention.
Factors leading up to a more serious periodontal disease include poor dental hygiene, crowded or misaligned teeth, poor eating habits, smoking and use of tobacco products, aging, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, stress and systematic diseases, such as diabetes.
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Frequently, periodontal disease begins as a simple infection with few symptoms. As it advances, you may experience:
- Puffy and/or bleeding gums
- Gums receding from teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Bad after taste in your mouth
- Pus around your teeth or loose teeth
If you believe you are suffering any of these symptoms, please call Towncare Dental of Clermont today at (352) 432-1960 to make an appointment.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
To recap, be watchful for signs of gingivitis because it is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed by due diligence of strong at-home oral hygiene and regular dentist visits.
If not treated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more serious gum disease that can compromise the tissue and bone that support your teeth and impacting your overall health. If your gums begin to separate from your teeth forming “pockets,” food and bacteria will gather in these wells causing permanent damage that will need persistent treatment and attention.
For adults, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Avoid dental implants and dentures later in life by due diligence to your oral health today.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Your twice annual teeth cleaning, which polishes teeth above the gum line, is certainly helpful when it comes to gingivitis. However, if you have a more serious periodontal disease, bacteria below the gum line must be treated. Scaling and root planing at our office in Clermont will remove plaque and tartar from periodontal pockets and smooth the tooth root to remove bacteria. Your dentist also may prescribe an antibiotic to deal with your gum infection.
It is likely you will need more frequent teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance to eliminate the infection and stop it from spreading. Gum disease is a serious systemic disease and should be treated with equal seriousness by you and your dentist.
If periodontal disease is allowed to progress unchecked, your teeth may become loose and eventually fall out. To prevent this outcome, our dentist or periodontist may suggest a regenerative procedure — a bone or tissue graft — or recommend tissue-stimulating proteins to shore-up the tissue around your teeth.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
Proper care of your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment. If you adhere to a strict regimen of daily brushing and flossing and twice-yearly dentist visits (more if you need periodontal maintenance), you are taking the right steps to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. If you need help to achieve your goals, contact us at (352) 432-1960.