Periodontal (gum) disease has been estimated to affect nearly 50% of American adults, though many people suffering from the condition are unaware that they have it. Our goal at Redmond Art of Dentistry is to prevent oral health issues and educate our patients to help you enjoy a lifetime of optimal dental health.
Here are a few of the most common questions we hear from patients when it comes to gum disease:
What Causes Gum Disease? How Can I Prevent It?
Gum disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, though genetics and other factors can play a role. If you do not brush and floss properly, bacteria will begin to form into plaque and tartar, and build up in the spaces between your gums and teeth. Over time, the bacteria will begin to infect the gum tissue, causing inflammation and damage to the gums and the supporting structures of your teeth.
The best way to prevent gum disease is by brushing 2-3 times per day for two minutes, and flossing at least once per day. It’s also important to see the dentist every six months for a check-up and teeth cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.
There are also lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of gum disease, such as ceasing tobacco use and reducing your alcohol intake, as well as maintaining a healthy diet.
Is Gingivitis Reversible?
Yes. Gingivitis is the term used to refer to the first stage of gum disease. This stage of the disease causes inflammation of the gums, but does not cause permanent damage. With proper care, you can reverse the disease and eliminate it completely. At our office, we perform a scaling and root planing procedure for patients with gingivitis to help remove bacteria from underneath your gums and in between your teeth.
However, if you do not seek treatment, your gingivitis may progress into periodontitis. This stage of gum disease is not reversible. The damage done by periodontitis can be minimized and controlled with periodontal maintenance appointments, but you will have the disease for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s so important to get help right away.
Do I Have Gum Disease? What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
There are a few common signs of gum disease that you can look out for. The most common symptoms of disease include:
Gums that appear purplish or dark red
Gum inflammation and puffiness
Bleeding when brushing or flossing
Increased sensitivity to heat, cold and pressure
As gum disease gets worse, other symptoms may include:
- Halitosis (persistent bad breath)
- A foul taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away
- A shift in how your teeth fit together
- Loosening of one or more teeth, or total tooth loss
- Crown lengthening (teeth appearing longer due to gum recession)
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you may have gum disease. Contactthe team at Redmond Art of Dentistry to get proper care right away.
My Gums Are Bleeding When I Brush or Floss. Do I Have Gum Disease?
Not necessarily. If you are brushing too hard or using a very stiff-bristled brush, your gums may bleed even if they’re healthy. Bleeding when flossing is also common if you have not maintained a flossing routine in the past, and will usually go away after you’ve flossed consistently for a few weeks. However, if you notice that your gums are bleeding and you also recognize other signs of gum disease as mentioned above, come in for a consultation with Dr. Bickel to ensure that you get the proper treatment.
Have More Questions? Come See Us Today!
At Redmond Art of Dentistry, Dr. Bickel is an expert in periodontal care. If you believe you have gum disease, come in for an appointment right away so our team can give you the care you need to reverse and halt gum disease. Give us a call at (425) 883-1331, or stop by our office at 16455 NE 85th Street, Suite #101, Redmond, WA 98052 for more information.