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If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss, you are not alone. Half of Americans over the age of 30 have some stage of periodontal disease. It is not a good idea to wait, once the symptoms begin to appear. Gum disease is only reversible in its earliest stages. After that, it is a chronic disease like diabetes that can be managed, but not eliminated.
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Our dentist in Homestead will examine your teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy and able to support your teeth for years to come.
“Peri” means around and “dontic” means tooth; periodontal disease is just another term for gum disease.
A healthy smile includes both healthy teeth and keeping your gums healthy. The bacteria found in your mouth can attack the enamel of your teeth and can attack the gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The bacteria in plaque and tartar can spread below your gum line and erode the tissues and bone that hold the teeth in place.
There are several factors that can lead to periodontal disease.
Here are a few of those factors:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor tooth alignment
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic Predisposition
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Your dentist will know if you are suffering from gum disease when observing the following signs of gingivitis during an examination:
- Swollen gum tissues
- Loose teeth or unusual gaps between teeth
- Visible pus between your teeth and gums
- Pockets of inflammation at the gum base
- Gums pulling away from the base of your teeth
If you have any of these symptoms of gum disease, please call Towncare Dental Associates of Homestead today at (786) 738-6500.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
Again, the first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is the only stage during which gum disease can be reversed. Professional dental treatment and good dental hygiene at home can do the job.
If your gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis. As the disease progresses further, it breaks down the tissues and bones supporting the teeth, causing the gums to separate from the teeth. These are called “pockets.” More bacteria can gather in the pockets, which can lead to further destruction of the gum tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It has also has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Many people don’t realize that during regular cleanings, the hygienist only polishes the teeth above the gum line. To treat bacteria properly below the gum line, our periodontist or hygienist in Homestead will use a technique known as scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from periodontal pockets and smooth the tooth root to remove bacteria. If necessary, an antibiotic can be applied to treat the gum infection.
You may require more frequent cleanings, plus periodontal maintenance in order to treat the infected areas and keep the gum disease from advancing. Periodontal disease is a systemic disease; it’s only reversible when it’s caught in the gingivitis stage.
If the bone supporting your teeth is destroyed by periodontal disease, our dentist or a specialist may recommend a regenerative procedure like a bone graft, tissue graft, or tissue-stimulating proteins to regenerate bone and tissue.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
The best and most effective way to prevent gum disease is to have professional teeth cleanings at least twice a year – more if you require periodontal maintenance – and proper at-home oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing at least once each day will prevent tartar from building up on teeth and below your gum line.