Getting To Know … Gum Disease
There are certain things that most people can’t avoid.
Death and taxes are at the top of the list, but gum disease may be close behind.
According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, 4 out of every 5 people have some form of gum disease. That’s 80 percent of the population.
If you spread that out over a typical lifespan, there’s a good chance that at some point, you will have periodontal problems if you don’t already.
If you have gum disease or, better yet, before you do, make plans to visit Beaumont Family Dentistry for treatment and for preventive care. We have three dentist offices in Lexington, and we serve patients throughout Central Kentucky — from Georgetown to Richmond and everywhere in between.
For now, take some time to learn about the potential problems posed by periodontal disease and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
Where Gum Disease Comes From
If your mouth were an old Western movie, then bacteria would be the gang of bad guys trying to take over the town.
The bacteria that cause gum disease live inside your mouth, and they are constantly looking for ways to build plaque. You can think of plaque as the hangout where the bacteria gang is plotting their next crime.
If the sheriff (your toothbrush) and the deputy (dental floss) don’t disrupt the bacteria, then your mouth could be the next victim.
As the bacteria gang gets bigger, it can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
The early form of gum disease is known as gingivitis. In medical terminology, your gums are known as gingiva, thus the name of the disease.
Anyone can develop gum disease, but some groups are more susceptible. These include:
◆ Teens and preteens going through puberty
◆ Women who are pregnant
◆ Women going through menopause
◆ Smokers and other tobacco users
◆ People who breathe primarily through their mouths
◆ People with ill-fitting mouth appliances
◆ People with misaligned teeth
Gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums. Your risk for this condition is directly related to the amount of plaque growth on your teeth.
The symptoms of gingivitis include:
◼︎ Red gums
◼︎ Swollen gums
◼︎ Gums that bleed easily
The good news is that gingivitis often can be treated and reversed with basic dental care. Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time will remove much of the plaque and bacteria that had built up inside your mouth. Flossing or using an interdental device every day will remove much of the bacteria and plaque from the places you can’t reach with a toothbrush.
And you should visit Beaumont Family Dentistry at least twice a year for routine cleanings. We can remove the plaque that you may have missed. We can also show you how to floss correctly if you aren’t quite sure if you have been doing it right.
Pushing Back On Periodontitis
If your gum disease is not treated early, it can turn into periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of gum disease.
Here are some signs that your gingivitis may have progressed to periodontitis:
◼︎ Constant bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth
◼︎ Gums that pull away from your teeth
◼︎ Increased tooth sensitivity
◼︎ Pus leaking from your gums
◼︎ Teeth that feel loose
With periodontitis, your gum disease may be attacking the bone that holds your teeth in place. This is why your teeth can feel loose and possibly fall out if you do not treat your condition.
At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we can treat most patients without surgery. This is good for you because it means the treatment is less invasive. It also allows you to recover faster after your periodontal treatment.
If we see evidence of advanced gum disease, then we may try scaling and root planing. Our hygienists use ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque and tartar buildup under your gumline. The ultrasonic scalers are gentler on your gums than traditional scalers.
If needed, we may place an antibiotic gel, Arestin®, under your gums to reduce your risk of reinfection.
For more serious cases, we use dental lasers to remove infected gum tissue. The laser allows us to accurately and painlessly clean the pockets that have formed inside your gums.
The Fight Never Ends
Bacteria are persistent if nothing else. If you brush away plaque formations, the bacteria in your mouth will start rebuilding as soon as they can.
That’s why you must remember to brush, floss, and visit Beaumont Family Dentistry for routine cleanings and exams.
If you are experiencing gum disease, we can treat your problem quickly, effectively, and painlessly at any our of three dentists offices in Lexington. Call the office closest to you or use our online form to make an appointment.