Gum disease is also known as gingivitis. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to periodontal disease, an abscessed tooth, and loss of teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance made of food debris, bacteria and mucus that sticks to the surfaces of your teeth. Over time it can harden and become tarter that may irritate your gums and lead to the swelling, infection and tenderness associated with gum disease. Risk factors for gum disease may include illness, poor oral hygiene, improper brushing, diabetes, and pregnancy. Ill-fitting braces, dentures, crowns and bridges may also irritate the gums and increase the possibility of gum disease.
Symptoms of gum disease may include red or bleeding gums, gums that are tender to the touch, sores in the mouth, and swollen or shiny gums. If you are experiencing these symptoms locate a general dentist or family dentist who will examine your mouth and confirm a diagnosis of gum disease. Your dentist may perform dental bone measurements to assess the level of damage to the underlying structures of your teeth. The dentist will then develop a treatment plan to eliminate the gum disease and repair any problems it may have caused. If you have a severe case of gum disease, you may need to locate a periodontist for advanced treatment.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid Gum Disease
Floss and brush twice a day.
Use a tongue scraper to reduce the bacteria in your mouth and an interdental stimulator to improve gum health.
An irrigation device can help remove food deposits between teeth and along the gum lines.
An antibacterial mouth rinse may be helpful in reducing bacteria.
Regular professional dental cleanings can remove tartar that may be irritating the gums and spot early signs of gum disease.
Locate a family dentist who will educate you and your family on other steps to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Ask if there are any special toothpastes that might be helpful
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