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If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you are not alone. Half of Americans over the age of 30 experience some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This is a disease that affects not only your mouth, but has been connected to heart disease and diabetes, as well.
A healthy smile includes both healthy teeth and healthy gums. The bacteria in the mouth can attack the enamel of your teeth and then attack the gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and it is the only stage that is reversible. Our dentist in Plantation will examine your gums to ensure they are healthy and can continue to support your teeth for many years to come.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The bacteria found in plaque and tartar can spread below the gum line and erode the tissues and the bone that hold your teeth in place.
There are several factors that can lead to gum disease, including:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor nutrition
- Poor tooth alignment
- Genetic predisposition
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
During the beginning stages of gum disease, you may experience minor bleeding, usually without pain, when brushing or flossing. When these are the only symptoms present, you have the best chances of achieving a rapid cure. Our skilled dentists can identify early signs of gingivitis and help you manage those symptoms before the condition progresses.
Periodontitis is the next progression from gingivitis. At this stage, the bone and supporting tissues that hold teeth in place are permanently damaged. Periodontal “pockets” at your gum line begin to trap food and bacteria-filled plaque, and cause even faster disease progression. At this point, more aggressive measures are needed to treat these advanced gum disease symptoms.
In the final stage of gum disease, bone and tissues supporting your teeth are destroyed. Your teeth may shift, loosen and fall out. You can avoid this by reversing gum disease while it’s still at an early stage.
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Many times, periodontal disease starts out as a painless infection with just a few symptoms. As it advances, you may have one or more of the following signs of periodontal disease:
- Pus around teeth
- Gum recession
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Red, puffy or bleeding gums
Please call Plantation Dental Services today at (954) 651-9315 if you have any of these symptoms.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It is the only stage during which gum disease can be reversed with professional dental treatment and good dental hygiene at home.
If you fail to treat gingivitis, 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. Those are what professionals call “pockets.” Even more bacteria can gather in the pockets, leading to further destruction of the gum tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This disease has also been linked to heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Most people don’t realize that regular teeth cleaning, called a prophylaxis, only polishes the tooth above the gum line. To treat the bacteria that amasses below the gum line, our periodontist or hygienist in Plantation will use a technique called scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from periodontal pockets and smooth the tooth root to remove bacteria. If needed, an antibiotic can also be applied to treat any gum infection.
Those suffering from gum disease may require more frequent teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance to treat the infected areas and keep the gum disease from advancing.
If the bone supporting your teeth has already been destroyed due to periodontal disease, our dentist or periodontist may recommend a regenerative procedure like a bone graft, tissue graft, or tissue-stimulating proteins that can regenerate bone and tissue.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
The most effective way to prevent gum disease is to have a professional clean your teeth at least twice a year – more if you require periodontal maintenance. Also, practice proper at-home oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing at least once a day will prevent tartar build-up on your teeth and below your gum line.