Are you 30 years old or older? Then there is a 47.2 percent chance that you have it already.
Are you 65 or older? Then, there is a 70 percent that you have it.
Those are the odds that you have some form of periodontal disease, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control.
We are mentioning this today because February is (among other things) Gum Disease Awareness Month. In the field of dentistry, it’s a time to remind one another that gum disease is a serious issue that can lead to long-term oral health problems.
For patients in and around Lancaster, CA, our dentist office is happy to help with the treatment and prevention of gum disease. Today’s post will focus on the things you can to keep your mouth free from periodontal disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Let’s start with the basics.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the soft tissues that surround your teeth. Gum disease often develops as a result of plaque buildup on your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky substance holds bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. The plaque keeps the bacteria close to your teeth, which creates the opportunity for them to cause problems.
When bacteria infect your gums, you have gum disease.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Now, let’s walk through how gum disease starts and gradually develops.
It’s important to remember that gum disease is often painless. It can develop for a while before you notice soreness.
The early form or gum disease is gingivitis. Fortunately, the symptoms of this condition are things you can see, and if you notice them, you should treat it as quickly as you can.
Healthy gums are pink and firm. Infected gums can appear redder than usual or swollen. Infected gums also will bleed when you are brushing or flossing your teeth.
As the infection spreads, tartar may be forming on your teeth. (If plaque is not removed, it can harden to form tartar.)
This can lead to more visible inflammation of gum tissue. You may notice some soreness or tenderness, and your gums may begin to recede or separate from your teeth.
At the same time, plaque and tartar buildup can spread on the roots of your teeth. It may even affect the bone that holds your teeth in place.
➤ Advanced periodontitis
In the advanced stages, you may notice symptoms such as constant bad breath. Your gums may feel painful, and your teeth may begin to feel loose in their sockets.
By knowing the symptoms, our hope is that you will seek treatment at our Lancaster, CA, dentist office sooner rather than later.
Dealing with gingivitis is simpler and more effective than waiting until your teeth are about to fall out. It’s also worth noting that many people who develop advanced periodontitis will have a chronic or recurring gum disease problem.
Treating Your Gum Disease
Remember that you can call 661-524-8457 to make an appointment for gum disease treatment at Dr. Boyle’s office.
With that in mind, let’s look at ways we can prevent and treat gum disease without surgery.
Your first line of defense is a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily will remove a lot of plaque from your teeth. The sticky film is constantly being reformed, which is why daily oral care is necessary.
And yes, you should still floss. Removing plaque and small food particles between your teeth and gums will reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
The next step you should take is routine professional dental cleanings and exams. The team at Dr. Boyle’s office will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. We will let you know if we see signs of gum disease, and what can be done to remove the infection.
In the case of gingivitis, it may be being more consistent about brushing and flossing. In the case of periodontitis, the treatment may depend on how advanced your infection is.
Scaling and root planing is a procedure for removing plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. Many times this can be enough to allow your body to fight off the infection.
If more treatment is needed, Dr. Boyle will discuss your options with you.
Schedule A Visit
Regular dental visits are important in preventing gum disease. If you already have gum disease, they can help you keep it from getting worse.
Either way, if you have not yet scheduled your next cleaning and exam, call our dentist office in Lancaster, CA, at 661-524-8457 or contact us online.