Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss in American adults, with nearly 50 percent of Americans living with mild, moderate, or severe periodontal disease. At the age of 65, the chances of developing gum disease go up to 70 percent. Adults – even young adults – are at risk of poor gum health without proper oral health care. We help prevent and treat gum disease at Dentistry for Life in Center City.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease always starts small, which is why it can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize the problem. Once the disease has progressed, however, you’ll know something isn’t right. Some of the most common signs of periodontal disease are:
- Gum irritation
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
Gum disease is an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth and, without treatment, it will eventually destroy the bone that supports your teeth, damage soft tissue, and make the gums and teeth separate from each other until the teeth become loose and fall out.
Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease treatment, also called periodontal therapy, can take several forms, including non-surgical laser gum therapy. The severity of your gum disease will help determine the procedures that will be most effective for cleaning up your oral health.
A deep cleaning known as soft tissue management removes the decay and bacteria from your mouth. A scaler is used to remove tartar from below the gum line while root planing smooths out any bumpy or irregular surfaces so plaque doesn’t have anything to latch onto. These efforts stop the progress of gum disease, but in order to promote the reattachment of healthy gums, you must follow your dentist’s strict instructions for at-home care and follow-up visits.
Depending on the level of gum disease that is present, an antimicrobial rinse may be prescribed. It is usually employed to address mild gingivitis, attacking the germs that are responsible for the infection. This effort also minimizes the formation of plaque, reduces inflammation, and staunches bleeding gums.
Because gum disease is an infection, an antibiotic may also be necessary to help promote healing and kill the bacteria that has found a home in your mouth. Antibiotics usually take the form of mouthwash or topical treatments, and they are often used to treat the early stages of gum disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
The simplest and most basic way to prevent gum disease is to take good care of your teeth and gums, always. Brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your Center City general dentist twice a year for professional teeth cleanings and check-ups.
Even if you are diligent about your oral health at home, your toothbrush and toothpaste cannot scrub away what a hygienist’s tools can. There is also no substitute for the careful eye of a trained dentist, who is always on the lookout for – and easily recognizes – the early signs of gum disease, the signs that you can easily miss. We check the color and firmness of your gums, look for pockets developing between gums and teeth, investigate sensitivity, and review x-rays for problems under the gum line.
Schedule an appointment at our Center City dental office in the Medical Arts Building to get a dental cleaning, a check-up, or to discuss the gum disease that you fear has already taken root. Gum disease will not go away on its own and, eventually, it will ruin your teeth. Be proactive. Don’t let periodontal disease take over your mouth and ruin your teeth and gums.