It is estimated that a majority of adults in the United States will develop or currently have gum disease. The most common form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is caused when plaque and tartar are not fully removed from the teeth, allowing bacteria to infect the gums. In most cases, treating gingivitis requires little more than professional dental hygiene and teeth cleaning appointments coupled with a more rigorous at-home routine.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Left undetected or untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious oral health issue that has also been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and complications with pregnancy and diabetes. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Gum swelling or redness
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gum recession
- Chronic bad breath
- Sensitive or loose teeth
Periodontitis can also infect the bone and connective tissue around your teeth, resulting in tooth loss. At this advanced stage, gum disease treatment may require scaling and root planning, laser dentistry treatments, and other advanced services to protect your teeth and prevent serious systemic issues.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
A poor oral hygiene routine places you at a higher risk for gum disease. Brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, flossing daily, and visiting our office for regularly scheduled cleanings is often the best defense. However, good oral hygiene alone may not be sufficient to prevent gum disease.
Other risk factors for gum disease include:
- Chronic dry mouth
- Certain medications
- Hormonal changes
- Cancer and HIV/AIDS treatments
The most effective way to prevent gum disease is to brush twice a day and floss daily, and to visit our dentists for professional cleanings. These visits give us an opportunity to detect even the slightest gum infection and begin treating the issue before significant problems develop.
If you live in or around Medford, Massachusetts and are suffering from any of the symptoms of gum disease, please contact Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.