Do your gums bleed when you are brushing your teeth? Has your dentist ever told you that you need your teeth cleaned on a regular basis to help prevent tartar buildup? If you have answered yes to these two questions, you might have an early onset of gum disease. When it comes to gum disease, here are four frequently asked questions that you might have.
1. What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and affects 64.7 million adults over the age of 30. This type of oral disease can occur in stages. The simplest form of gum disease causes inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is referred to as gingivitis. When the inflammation is left untreated, it turns into periodontitis, which means the inflammation has spread to the area surrounding the tooth.
In the most severe cases of gum disease, the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth can be damaged, which sometimes results in tooth loss.
2. What Causes Gum Disease?
There are three things that work together to cause gum disease. This includes:
Your mouth is filled with bacteria and believe it or not, some of the bacteria is actually good, as it helps to protect the teeth and gums. The bad bacteria, however, forms a sticky and colorless film on the teeth called plaque. When you brush and floss your teeth, you are getting rid plaque. However, when the plaque does not get removed, it can mineralize into tartar.
When plaque and tartar are left on the teeth for long periods of time, it causes gingivitis, which can progress into gum disease.
3. What Are Some Common Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Some of the most common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed while flossing or brushing your teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Gums move away from the tooth
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a dentist before the gum disease gets worse.
4. How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?
The good news is, you can prevent gum disease. Brushing your teeth and your tongue after eating, flossing, using mouthwash, and getting your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist, are all effective ways to prevent gum disease. You should also see your dentist on a regular basis. Scheduling a dental exam twice a year is good enough for most people. If you have reoccurring symptoms of gum disease, you may need to see your dentist more often.