Knowing these tips can prevent deadly tooth loss
Keeping a beautiful smile is not as easy as some people might think. While it is not difficult, you will need to take some simple steps to avoid getting serious gum disease. If you already have it, you need to know why and when to see a dentist about it and get the treatment you need.
About Gum Disease
A report from the CDC states that almost half of all adults (47.2 percent) 30 or older have gum disease. This is not just gingivitis, the mild form, but periodontitis – the more serious form. They also state that this number climbs to 70 percent of all adults over the age of 64. Periodontal disease is more common among men than women, and 64.2 percent of smokers have this advanced gum disease.
The Problem with Periodontitis
Periodontitis is a serious gum disease that can rob you of some or even all of your teeth. The bacteria that is responsible for it gets into the gums and starts a chain reaction. The immune system starts fighting the bacteria and its by-products in your gums. This turns into an autoimmune problem in which your immune system starts attacking your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth, and the jaw bone.
If allowed to continue untreated, some of your teeth will become loose. With a little more time, they may even fall out. In some cases, the infections become so bad that the dentist has no choice but to remove all your teeth. This form of advanced gum disease continues to be the main reason adults are losing their teeth today.
Early Gum Disease
When you first get gum disease, you may not even recognize it – or you might not think anything about it. The early symptoms are barely noticeable. There is not apt to be any pain, but you may have red or inflamed gums and bleeding gums whenever you brush or floss.
Signs of Gum Disease
As the disease in your gums progresses, the signs of gum disease will certainly become more noticeable. One reason that some people wait so long to get treatment is that of a lack of pain. It often will not hurt until one or more teeth become loose, then it will hurt when you bite down with that tooth.
If you pay much attention to the condition of your teeth and gums, you will notice some changes sooner or later. The following symptoms of gum disease should serve as a warning sign that you have gum disease:
- Receding gums
- Red or inflamed gums
- Pockets on the gums
- Pus at the gum line
- Bad breath
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- A change in how your teeth fit against each other
Serious Complications of Gum Disease
Once you have a gum infection, you are possibly headed for more serious problems. From the gums, the bacteria that cause gum disease gets into your bloodstream and causes buildups and clots. Researchers know that there is a connection between the inflammation, bacteria and many serious health problems that include cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, dementia, ED, osteoporosis, several forms of cancer, and more.
The Periodontal Exam
In order to determine if you have periodontal disease, a dentist must make a physical exam of your teeth. It is not enough to merely make a visual exam. The seriousness of the disease is determined by the depth of the pockets on each tooth.
The longer that periodontal gum disease is allowed to continue without treatment, the more damage there will be. If you are careful to maintain good oral care from the start, you can usually get rid of gum disease (gingivitis) completely. This includes brushing twice daily and flossing.
If you have periodontitis, the dentist will have to help you get rid of it. Periodontal disease treatment will take several forms using non-surgical and periodontal surgery procedures depending on how advanced it has become. Medication will also be given to help eradicate the bacteria in the gums.
Preventing Gum Disease
In order to prevent gum disease, you can do several things. These are mostly lifestyle changes.
- Brush and floss daily
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sugar and control diabetes
- Stay hydrated and avoid dry mouth
- Reduce your stress
- Quit smoking
- Eliminate or significantly reduce alcohol
The final step in preventing or controlling gum disease is to make regular dental appointments. The dentist can spot gum disease early and help you eliminate it before significant damage has been done.
Stopping gum disease from developing any further is very important, but preventing it is even better. If you have discovered that you already have the warning signs of serious gum disease and need periodontal disease treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS MBA, a Board Certified Periodontist, can treat all levels of periodontal gum disease and can help restore your smile. His dental offices are located in the Carrollton, Cedar hill, Mockingbird/SMU, and Grapevine, TX areas.