Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the soft and hard structures in the mouth that support the teeth. Nearly half of all adults aged 30 or older show signs of gum disease, according to the CDC, and about nine percent of adults are afflicted with severe gum disease.
While it is very common, it’s also preventable. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, it’s important to understand the causes, and signs that indicate the progression of the disease, and how to prevent periodontal disease in the future.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The primary cause is dental plaque buildup. Plaque contains many different types of bacteria, some of which are harmful and can cause an infection to develop in the gums. Gum disease is more common in individuals who have poor oral hygiene. However, genetics can also affect how a person’s immune system responds to bacteria.
Some people are more likely to develop gum disease. Common risk factors include:
- Heart disease
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
- Autoimmune diseases, such as scleroderma, lupus, or Crohn’s disease
What are the Common Symptoms of Gum Disease?
When gum disease first develops, you may not experience any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, it’s common to develop subtle to severe symptoms that indicate that something is amiss in your mouth. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist in Clermont for an exam and a proper diagnosis.
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that are red, swollen, and tender
- Change in how your teeth fit together when you bite
- Pain when chewing
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Chronic bad breath that doesn’t go away when you brush
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Partial dentures that no longer fit
- Loose teeth
- Pus between the gums and teeth
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Prevention of gum disease ultimately comes down to maintaining good, daily oral hygiene habits. Preventing tooth decay is much easier than reversing it once you already have an established infection.
Some effective ways to prevent gum disease include:
- Brush Thoroughly at Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth removes plaque, harmful bacteria, and food particles from the mouth. When brushing, spend at least two full minutes gently scrubbing at all surfaces, including the fronts and backs of your teeth and along the gum line.
- Floss to Clean Hard-to-Reach Places
It can be difficult to reach all the small nooks and crannies in your mouth with a toothbrush alone. That is why local dentists recommend flossing after brushing. Flossing between teeth and along the gum line can help remove stubborn plaque and prevent oral health conditions.
- Swish with an Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
After brushing and flossing, rinse the mouth with mouthwash to help dislodge any food particles still lingering in your mouth. Mouthwash is also a great option for freshening breath. Choose an alcohol-free variety to prevent drying out the tissues in the mouth. In addition, consider a mouthwash that contains fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.
- Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months
Professional dental cleanings approximately every six months are critical to maintain good oral health and ward off dental decay and gum disease. During a routine cleaning, your dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar. They will also perform a physical exam to check for signs of disease, and possibly take X-rays to get a better look at the health of your teeth.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Dentist in Clermont FL
The impact of gum disease is not just limited to your mouth. The bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter the bloodstream through gum tissue, potentially affecting the rest of the body. At Hancock Village Dental, we offer a range of preventative dentistry services to help patients maintain good oral health and overall wellness. To schedule your next cleaning or to learn more about our services, contact our Clermont dental office at 352-989-5815.