Gum (or periodontal) disease can strike the best of us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all American adults suffer from some form of .
It only takes a small amount of plaque on the surface of your teeth to set it off, which is why it’s such a common issue. As with most dental problems, however, the best way to avoid gum disease involves daily brushing and flossing.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The symptoms of gum disease can be subtle, which means many people don’t seek dental care until the disease is in its advanced stages. Here are a few symptoms to look out for:
- Sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
Bleeding and sore gums are not the norm! If you start seeing any of these symptoms, contact our dentist right away. Treatments for gum disease vary from case to case—from a simple deep cleaning to medication or surgery. The sooner you come in to see us, the faster we can help.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are three main stages of gum disease.
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis occurs when your gums become irritated by dental plaque. You may notice swelling, soreness, or bleeding when you brush your teeth. At this stage, gum disease is still reversible.
- Periodontitis: By this point, your gum disease can no longer be cured, only managed. Our dentist can help you come up with a plan to keep your gum disease from progressing further.
- Advanced gum disease: Advanced gum disease can cause permanent damage to the bone and tissue in your mouth, even causing teeth to fall out in some cases. Serious treatment is necessary to get this condition under control.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Thankfully, you can preventfrom getting to an advanced stage through routine dental care. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day will remove any pesky plaque from your teeth.
But if you’re looking for even more support, try including a mouthwash like Act or Listerine. Though definitely not a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwashes can reach those hard-to-reach places you sometimes miss with your brush.
In addition to brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, regular dental visits help tremendously in gum disease prevention. Dentists have the knowledge and tools integral for keeping your mouth in the best shape possible. We can monitor your oral health and let you know if you’re at risk for gum disease.
There are three factors that affect your prognosis for: (1) What you do at home; (2) what your dental team does for you, and (3) your genetics. Working together with our dentist can help you to control at least two of these three factors.
Ready to Make an Appointment?
At Robert J. Stevenson DDS, we’re always ready to answer any questions you have about gum disease or any other oral health issue! For more information on our Ann Arbor dentists and how to avoid gum disease, contact us online or call us at (734) 201-1610.
[This blog post has been updated.]