What Exactly Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Posted by Dr. Ronald F. Jacob on Aug 2 2019, 03:34 AM

Many people have heard of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, however they do not know the exact cause or how to treat it. Most adults in the United States will have some form of periodontal disease in their lifetime. Keep reading to find out exactly what periodontal disease is and how you can prevent yourself from getting it.

Most of us know that our mouths have a lot of bacteria in it. When the bacteria comes in contact with other forms of bacteria, particles, or mucus, it turns into plaque. Brushing your teeth every day and flossing will help to get rid of plaque. However, if we do not get all of the plaque, it can harden and form tartar. Tartar cannot be removed from simply brushing, and you must see a dentist.

The mildest form of gum disease is called gingivitis. If the plaque and tartar are left on your teeth long enough, then you develop gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums that also bleed easily. At this stage, if you brush and floss well enough, you can reverse the process of gum disease with the added help of visiting your dentist.

If the gingivitis is not taken care of promptly, then it can turn into periodontitis. During this stage, your gums pull away from your teeth. In the spaces that form between them, you are likely to get an infection. If left untreated, the infection starts to break down the bone and other tissue that is in your mouth. Eventually, your teeth can fall out or need to be removed, leaving permanent damage in your mouth.

There are a few different options to properly treat gum disease. The main idea is to treat the infection as soon as possible, but depending on the severity of the gum disease, your dentist may recommend different types of treatment. The easiest is a deep cleaning. This is when the dentist removes the plaque and tartar that is below the gum line. Medication is the next option, sometimes paired with the first. The last option is surgery.

There are many easy steps that can be taken in order to prevent getting gum disease. Firstly, we recommend brushing your teeth twice per day. This will help the buildup on your teeth. It is also important to floss your teeth and gums daily. This will help remove any food that is still stuck in your teeth. Finally, make sure that you visit your dentist every six months. For more information about periodontal disease, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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Dr. Ronald F. Jacob, DMD

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