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Here’s some good news about your ailing teeth. Even if you already have signs of early gum disease, it may be reversible. The key is not to wait.
A healthy smile includes both healthy teeth and healthy gums and the bacteria in your mouth can attack the enamel of your teeth and attack the gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing and you are an adult, you are far from alone. About half of Americans over 30 have some form of periodontal disease. “Peri” means around and “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 it is reversible. Our dentist in Jupiter will examine your gums to ensure they are healthy and able to support your teeth for years to come.
Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, typically precedes periodontitis, or gum disease. But not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.
In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build, causing the gums to become inflamed and easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. And that is the key. There has not yet been irreversible bone or other tissue damage.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Bacteria in plaque and tartar can spread below the gum line and erode the tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place.
Factors that can lead to periodontal disease, include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor tooth alignment
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic predisposition
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Many times, periodontal disease starts as a painless infection with very few symptoms. As it advances, one or more of these signs of periodontal disease may appear:
- Puffy, red or bleeding gums
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pus around the teeth
If you have any of these symptoms of gum disease, please call Jupiter Dental Group today at (561) 459-1399.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is the only stage that can be reversed with professional dental treatment and good dental hygiene at home.
If you leave gingivitis untreated, it can lead to periodontitis. As the disease progresses, it will break down the tissues and bones that support the teeth, causing the gums to separate from the teeth. These spaces between the gum and the enamel are called “pockets.” More bacteria can gather in those pockets, leading to further destruction of gum tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Research has also linked gum disease to diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Most people don’t realize that a regular teeth cleaning, called a prophylaxis, only polishes the tooth above your gum line. To reach and treat bacteria below the gum line, our periodontist or hygienist in Jupiter will use a technique called scaling and root planing to smooth the tooth root to remove bacteria. An antibiotic may also be applied to treat the gum infection.
You may require more frequent teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance to treat infected areas and keep the gum disease from progressing.
If the bone supporting your teeth has already been destroyed by periodontal disease, our dentist or our periodontist 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?
First and foremost, practice good oral hygiene at home. The most effective way to prevent gum disease, in addition to that good oral hygiene, is to have professional teeth cleanings at least twice a year – more if you require periodontal maintenance. Brushing teeth after each meal and flossing at least once a day will prevent tartar build-up on your teeth and below your gum line.