What is Gum Disease?
Keeping your teeth healthy and strong is an important part of maintaining a beautiful smile for life, but your teeth shouldn’t be your only concern when striving to practice good oral health habits. Your gums also need proper dental care. By brushing and flossing diligently on a daily basis, you can keep your gums in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, if you don’t, you could be at risk of developing an infection in the tissues that support your teeth. This is known as gum disease. Here’s what you should know about preventing gum disease before scheduling your next routine dental appointment with the friendly team at our Groveport, OH, dental office.
How Do You Get Gum Disease?
Gum disease most commonly occurs from poor oral hygiene habits. When the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth and particles from the food you consume aren’t removed with at-home brushing and flossing, a clear, sticky film called plaque can form over the surface of your teeth. If left untreated, this plaque can harden into tartar build-up. As a result, your gum tissue can become infected, resulting in other serious oral health complications, including tooth recession and even tooth loss.
What are some of the Risk factors for gum disease?
There are a number of factors that leave you at a higher risk for of periodontitis, include:
- Poor oral health habits
- Recreational drug use, such as smoking marijuana or vaping
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Certain medications that cause dry mouth or gum changes
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
Signs of Gum Disease
The earliest stage of gum disease typically doesn’t exhibit any warning signs. This can make the condition particularly problematic. Because your teeth and gums look healthy to your naked eye, you may not realize that your oral health is at risk. As it progresses, however, periodontal disease could cause the following symptoms:
- inflammation of the gums
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Bleeding after you floss
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity
- Discomfort when eating
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
How to Treat Gum Disease
Gum disease will not go on its own and cannot be treated with normal at-home dental care. On the contrary, if left untreated indefinitely, gum disease will get worse and lead to more complicated oral health conditions. Because of this, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dental professional t if you notice any abnormalities with your gum health.
Gum disease must be diagnosed by a dentist. If your dentist determines that you have gum disease, they will likely recommend that you undergo a deep dental cleaning to restore the health of your gums and protect the condition from progressing. This will require a dental hygienist to gently scrape the plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth as well as from around and beneath your gum line. Until your gums are healthy once again, your dentist may require you to have more frequent professional cleanings.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease from developing is to practice good oral hygiene health habits on a regular basis. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing and using mouthwash daily
- Limiting your consumption of foods that are hard to remove from the crevices of your teeth
- Visiting the dentist every six months for regular dental checkups and professional dental cleanings
Protect Your Gums at Walnut Creek Dental in Groveport, OH
Just because your teeth and gums look healthy doesn’t mean that they are. If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve had a dental check-up or professional dental cleaning, it’s time to make caring for your smile a priority once again. Regular dental exams and cleanings are a small step that can make a big difference in maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile for life, including preventing gum disease. The trusted team at Walnut Creek Dental in Groveport, OH, is ready to show you how convenient and comfortable caring for your teeth and gums can be. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!
Michael Pappas, DDS, MBA
Dr. Michael Pappas, a distinguished Ohio-based dentist and owner of two local practices, is recognized for his commitment to providing modern, comprehensive dental care rooted in a patient-focused approach. An Ohio State University alumnus, he holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and an MBA, and his ongoing pursuit of continuing education enables him to bring the latest in dental advancements to his patients. When not engaged in his profession or serving in leadership roles within dental organizations, Dr. Pappas is an active community member who enjoys physical activities and the companionship of his therapy dog, Roscoe.