What You Must Know About Gum Disease

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If you've been avoiding a visit to your dental hygienist for a routine cleaning, you need to know you are putting yourself at risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease causes pain, bleeding and inflammation. If you've noticed some pain or bleeding when flossing or brushing, you may have gum disease. Check out these three facts you need to know.

It's Not Normal Aging

Gum disease is common in older patients because after using your teeth for so long, improper care can lead to irritation and tartar buildup. However, gum disease is not a normal part of aging, and it is completely preventable. If you smoke, stop smoking as that is a leading risk factor for gum disease because it limits blood flow to your gums. You should also make sure to take great care of your teeth by following at-home care and getting professional cleanings. Last, make sure you avoid foods high in sugar, which cause plaque, which irritates gums.

Gingivitis Is Reversible

If you develop gum disease, you typically start with gingivitis, which is reversible. In fact, reversing mild gingivitis is as easy as getting your teeth cleaned and keeping them clean until the inflammation reduces. You may need to take some antibacterial medications or rinses to speed the healing process. If gum disease is left untreated, it may develop to periodontitis, which is often not reversible, but it can be controlled and maintained with good oral hygiene habits, deep cleanings and occasional doses of antibiotic treatments.

Severe Gum Disease Leads to Tooth Loss

If you let your gum disease worsen, you may start to lose teeth. Teeth become loose for a couple reasons. First, gum disease causes your gums to recede, which exposes tooth roots. This may allow teeth to fall out, but it can also cause severe decay, causing your tooth to need extraction. Last, periodontist affects your jawbone, causing it to diminish and weaken. Eventually, it is unable to support teeth. As more and more teeth fallout, the jaw bone shrinks at a faster pace with nothing to stimulate it. Worse, until you get your gum disease under control, your dentist likely won't want to place an implant or bridge to replace the tooth because they will likely fail.

Gum disease is a serious consequence of not getting professional cleanings. Only a professional cleaning from a dental hygienist or dentist can get rid of the tartar that irritates gums. For more information regarding dental cleanings or other gum disease treatments, contact a dental hygienist in your area today and schedule a cleaning.