Gum disease is a common issue for adults in the US. The mildest form of gum disease is called gingivitis. It can cause issues such as redness, swelling, bleeding gums, and sensitivity. The more serious form of gum disease is called periodontitis. It can cause more advanced issues such as receding gums, severe pain, secondary infections, and tooth loss. In order to avoid the problems that come with gum disease, you need to get answers to your questions so you can take action.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection that you get in your gums. The infection is caused by bacteria and can lead to symptoms that range from inflamed gums to tooth loss. Gum disease is common among adults and ranges in severity with gingivitis being the mild form and periodontitis being the more serious form. Gum disease can develop quickly and there are a number of factors that impact your susceptibility to developing the condition.
What causes gum disease?
When plaque on your teeth near the gumline turns into tartar, it can start to irritate your gums. If left untreated, this irritation can lead to gum disease. When harmful bacteria build up in your mouth – from an unhealthy diet or poor oral hygiene – you can develop gum disease. Your genetics also impact your likelihood of developing gum disease.
Is gum disease curable?
Gum disease is curable but in some situations the side effects are irreversible. Mild gum disease – gingivitis – is very curable and does not typically come with long-lasting side effects. The key to avoiding long-term side effects is to deal with gum disease quickly and effectively. In most situations, gingivitis can be cured with improved oral hygiene. If you have been skipping out on your routine dental visits, adding them in can help you reverse gingivitis. If you have become lax with some of your oral care tasks – brushing and flossing – renewing your efforts can help turn gum disease around. The more serious form of gum disease – periodontitis – will require the help of a dentist for treatment. In some situations, this condition and the side effects cannot be reversed, only managed. If you suspect that your gum disease has become advanced you need to get in to see your dentist as soon as possible.
What are the steps to prevent gum disease?
The steps for preventing gum disease are the same as those for curing mild gum disease. You need to see your dentist regularly to have tartar and plaque removed from your teeth. Brush your teeth consistently and thoroughly to remove harmful bacteria. Be sure and floss at least once per day (preferably more often) in order to keep bacteria from building up between your teeth. And, maintain a balanced diet to maximize your oral and overall health. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease because of genetics but these steps will still help minimize your likelihood of developing a problem.
Gum disease is a common problem but it is also treatable and preventable if you are proactive. You can start today by improving your oral hygiene routine and scheduling your next cleaning with your dentist. If you have specific concerns about your gums, get professional help as soon as possible to prevent the side effects of severe gum disease.