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Your smile is among the things a person notices immediately and it should make a good first impression. However, bacteria in your mouth is undermining your healthy smile by attacking the enamel of your teeth and possibly wreaking havoc on the gums and bone that keep your teeth in place.
A sign you have an issue is if your gums are puffy or bleed while brushing your teeth or flossing. Nearly half of all American over 30 years old have a form of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
But don’t panic. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease where bacteria inflames your gums, is reversible.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
When the built-up bacteria in plaque and tartar spreads below the gum line it can erode tissue and bone. Many factors lead to periodontal disease including: poor dental hygiene, misaligned or crowded teeth, eating poorly, use of tobacco products and/or smoking, aging, family history, hormonal changes during pregnancy, severe stress and systematic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease.
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Usually, gum disease begins as a small infection and you may not immediately notice symptoms. As it progresses, more signs of periodontal disease will reveal themselves, including: swollen, tender or bleeding gums, recession of gums, persistent bad breath, a lingering bad taste, loose or shifting teeth.
If you have any of these symptoms, we urge you make an appointment with one of our dentists at Towncare Dental of Winter Park. Call (407) 901-4351 today for a consultation.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. If one of our dentists at Towncare Dental of Winter Park determines you have gingivitis, you can cure it. Preventative checkups and cleanings, plus eating well and practicing good dental hygiene will reverse gum disease in this stage.
If left untreated, gingivitis could become periodontitis, a serious infection that causes the gums to separate from your teeth, forming “pockets.” These spaces collect food and bacteria as plaque grows below the gum line. Toxins produced by bacteria and “good” enzymes that fight infection begin breaking down bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.
As periodontitis progresses, the pockets deepen and more tissue and bone is destroyed and teeth are no longer anchored and they become loose or fall out. The number one cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
When you go to a dentist or hygienist for your twice-a-year cleaning, you may not recognize that most of the attention is paid to what is above the gum line. To reach the bacteria hidden beneath the gum line, our dentist or hygienist in Winter Park will perform a scaling and root planing, a deep-cleaning method to remove infection from below the gum line. If extreme cases, pocket reduction surgery may be required.
You will likely require more frequent cleanings to maintain your mouth health and prevent periodontitis from advancing. Maintenance is key because gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and more. You should be especially vigilant if gum disease runs in your family.
If unchecked, periodontal disease can destroy the bone in your mouth causing your teeth to become loose or fall out. In these cases, our dentist or periodontist may perform a regenerative procedure such as a bone graft, tissue graft, or tissue-simulating proteins to regrow bone and tissue.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
You are the best defense for your teeth and preventing gum disease. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss every day, replace your toothbrush every four months, eat a well-balanced diet and schedule regular dental checkups.
We are committed to helping you make a first good first impression with your smile. Call us at [phone] for a consultation.