Gum disease is an infection of the gums by oral bacteria. It’s caused by poor oral hygiene. When bacteria build up between your gums and teeth, they form plaque, which hardens into tartar.
Then, these bacteria will begin attacking the healthy structure of your gums, causing inflammation, pain, and discoloration. If treated early, gum disease will not cause permanent damage to your teeth. But if it’s left untreated, it may result in irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.
Proper oral hygiene is the most important part of preventing gum disease. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes using proper technique, and floss once per day. Using a water flosser and antibacterial mouthwash can also help prevent gum disease.
It is also important to see Dr. Yoni or Dr. Bean at Green Leaf Dental every six months for an oral exam and teeth cleaning. This will help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, and ensure we notice any early signs of gingivitis and gum disease.
Gingivitis is a term that refers to the first stage of gum disease. This stage of gum disease causes some symptoms such as inflammation of the gums but does not cause permanent damage to your teeth. It can be reversed with proper care.
In contrast, periodontitis (the second stage of gum disease) is not reversible. Its progression can be stopped and it can be treated, but you will never be able to permanently eliminate your gum disease. This is why it’s so important to get treatment for gum disease early.
The initial signs of gingivitis include bleeding when brushing and flossing, swelling and puffiness of the gums, gum discoloration (purplish, reddish, or dark gums), halitosis (bad breath) and spongy gums. As the disease progresses, the symptoms will continue to worsen.
More advanced stages of gum disease may have symptoms such as sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure, teeth that look longer due to gum recession, a change in how your teeth fit together, and the loosening of individual teeth. Other symptoms include pockets of pus forming between your gums and teeth and a foul taste in your mouth.
At Green Leaf Dental, we will begin your treatment with a deep cleaning or “scaling & root planing.” This procedure involves scraping plaque and tartar away from between your teeth and gums and smoothing the roots of your teeth to remove bacteria. Along with antibiotic treatment, this is often enough to reverse gingivitis and treat most cases of gum disease. If you think you may have any of the signs of gum disease, take a proactive approach by coming in for periodontal care as soon as possible.