Gum disease: everyone’s heard of it. It can ruin gums and teeth, destroy smiles, and leave you toothless if you wait too long for treatment. But do you know how and why all those complications happen? February is national gum disease awareness month, so today we’re going to talk about everything you need to know to identify, prevent, and treat gum disease.
Overmeyer Family Dental is dedicated to keeping your mouth happy, and with over two thirds of adults affected by gum disease we feel this is one of the most important ways we can help. Don’t let your oral health fall to this all too common condition: fight back!
What Is Gum Disease?
All of the major oral health problems you will likely have are linked to one common thing: oral bacteria. Gum disease is no different – the bacteria that calls your mouth home love to find safe spaces to hide, like beneath your gumline. Once there the bacteria multiplies fast, and your body responds by sending infection-fighting inflammation to your gums.
Unfortunately that inflammation doesn’t stop the infection like it often does in other parts of your body. Prolonged inflammation of the gums leads to redness, swelling, bleeding, gum recession, and persistent bad breath. At this stage we call gum disease gingivitis.
Without treatment gum disease continues to get worse, developing into full-blown periodontitis. At this point the infection has become severe, even going so far as to start causing bone loss in the jaw surrounding the teeth. This coupled with gum recession leads to eventual loosening of your teeth, severe gum recession, and eventual tooth loss.
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis don’t wait – contact our Orlando office now!
Preventing Gum Disease
While two thirds of people may end up with gum disease that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. You can easily avoid it by following three simple steps: thorough brushing, regular flossing, and routine dental cleanings and exams. These three ordinary parts of life are usually enough to keep gum disease at bay, as long as you’re disciplined about them!
Brushing needs to be done for two minutes twice a day. To make it most effective hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums and sweep back and forth with tooth wide strokes. If you spend at least two minutes doing this on every single tooth you’ll be in good shape!
Flossingis just as important as brushing, despite what you might think. We know most people don’t like to floss, but doing it is important! If you’re flossing nightly you’re far more likely to fight off gum disease – those small spaces between your teeth are ideal spots for bacteria to hide. If you aren’t flossing nightly you aren’t alone – only about 50 percent of adults do it on a regular basis. But being in that 50 percent is an important part of sustainable oral health.
Exams and cleanings might be the most critical part of this trio of preventive measures. Even the best brushing and flossing in the world can’t reach all of the trouble spots in your mouth. Gum disease still crops up in people who brush and floss but never see the dentist!
Cleanings and exams allow us to keep a continual record of your oral health, which helps us identify and treat problems before they become serious. We’re also able to reach into those impossible spots to remove plaque and give you a fresh start. Twice yearly appointments are essential!
Treating Gum Disease
While it might sound dire, gum disease can be treated at our Orlando office. Many early cases, which the vast majority of patients will suffer from, are even reversible. The key to successful treatment, of course, is prompt action!
We can completely eliminate the harmful bacteria under your gums, destroy damaged tissue, and help the remaining healthy portions reassert themselves with LANAP laser therapy. This state-of-the-art technique allows us to use lasers to destroy bacteria far more efficiently than was possible in the past. You’ll be amazed at the outcomes you’ll get with laser therapy for gum disease!
With Even The Smallest Symptom A Delay Can Be Costly
Even if you’ve just bled from the gums while brushing a couple of times it’s important that we see you soon. The faster your gum disease is treated the easier it will be to fully recover!