If You Have Periodontal Disease, Treating It As Early as Possible Can Help You Get the Best Results

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Did you know that gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss? In fact, three out of four adults in our country experience gingivitis and can be caused by poor oral hygiene, an unhealthy diet, aging or taking particular medications. Gum disease is the umbrella term for gingivitis and periodontitis.

Depending on the stage of gum disease, you can lose your teeth to this insidious disease as harmful bacteria inflame and infect the gum tissues. While the early stage is reversible, if it isn’t caught and treated early, this degenerative disease will be non-reversible as it steadily progresses into periodontitis.

Stage 1 – Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage and can be reversed if treated promptly. Signs that you might have gingivitis include gums that bleed easily whenever you brush and floss, and gums that look red and swollen.

Stage 2 – Periodontitis: As gum disease advances, it attacks your gums, bone and connective tissue (ligaments) anchoring your teeth in their proper place. If they loosen too much they can fall out or need to be removed.

What To Look For

  • Swollen, red or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Receding gums making your teeth look longer

Just as your teeth need to be protected against harmful oral plaque –that clear, sticky biofilm that collects onto tooth surfaces and around the gum line, forming into plaque and tartar — it can damage the gums holding teeth in place. If this bacteria isn’t removed daily, it irritates and inflames sensitive gum tissue, causing it to deteriorate and recede from the teeth. This deterioration then damages the supportive bone, ultimately leading to tooth loss. Unfortunately, It has also been linked to medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. The mouth is truly the gateway to the body!

Prevention is Key

Our Valley View Dental team focuses on helping to prevent periodontal disease from gaining a foothold in your smile. You need to incorporate the following daily practices to give your mouth a fighting chance against progressive gum disease:

-Keep your teeth clean: Brush after every meal to get rid of plaque and trapped food particles around your gum line and between teeth. Get a toothbrush that works best for you and then use it, at least twice a day. A cavity-reducing toothpaste containing fluoride can help keep tooth enamel strong. Remember to brush or scrape your tongue once a day to get rid of oral bacteria.

-Floss at least once daily: Floss between teeth and around the gum line to clear away food particles and plaque because your toothbrush can’t clean those places properly.

-Use mouthwash: rinsing with mouthwash can help destroy harmful bacteria and cut down on plaque. It reaches those areas your toothbrush and flossing tools miss.

-Eat healthy: It’s important to eat a balanced diet to give your mouth the nutrients needed to keep your mouth and body strong and disease-free.

-Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol: These products can harm your gums and other oral tissues and make it harder to heal.

Treating Periodontal Disease

If you have advancing gum disease, we may recommend the following, based on the stage it is in:

  • More frequent dental cleanings
  • Stepping up your home oral hygiene care
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Scaling and root planing (deep cleanings)
  • Gum surgery

As you can see, periodontal disease should not be taken lightly. You can take good care of your smile at home, and be sure to keep all scheduled dental cleanings and exams. Once you have gum disease, enlist the help of our dental team to reverse it when possible to keep it from progressing. Your oral health depends on it! Call today to learn more or to schedule a visit with one of our exceptional dentists in Illinois.