Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is when bacteria have invaded the gum tissue and it is not healthy. Often patients are unaware that they are suffering from gum disease unless they are told by a dentist. There are two main categories that the stages of gum disease are broken into:
In dentistry, “gum disease” or “periodontal disease” are general terms used to describe when gum or gingiva tissue is in an unhealthy state. There are two key classifications that gum disease can be broken into:
When still in the early stages, periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. At this time it is at its mildest and there is rarely discomfort. The gum tissue will be red, puffy and swollen, and bleed easily when flossing or brushing the teeth. At this stage the gum disease is reversible with proper dental care at home and a thorough cleaning by your dental hygienist.
If gingivitis is left untreated it will progress to a condition known as periodontitis. This is when the bacteria create plaque and tartar buildup that spreads below the gum line and cause inflammation. The gums start to separate from the teeth and create an open door for bacteria to travel through. At this stage these spaces fill in with bacteria and start to invade the jaw bone that holds the teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontitis will lead to tooth loss and permanent damage to the bone.
The key to success is prevention. Here are 5 methods that will help you avoid gum disease:
- Brush twice daily.The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice per day. Do not forget to brush your tongue as it is another area that bacteria can invade
- Floss once daily.The toothbrush is unable to access the area directly in between the teeth. It is essential to floss these areas to remove the bacteria there.
- Use a mouthwash.Rinsing with mouthwash is an important step in your oral hygiene. It is another way that you can minimize bacteria and plaque in your mouth.
- Quit Smoking.The risk of gum disease is significantly increased in smokers. By quitting smoking you will also be able to have better success in treating gum disease.
- Regular dental Visits. Seeing your dentist regularly for checkups is essential in staying healthy. There are areas that are impossible for us to reach at home and bacteria will proliferate and buildup there. Regular visits will allow the dentist to be sure these areas are addressed and not building harmful tartar and plaque.