Periodontal Disease Prevention and Treatment

If your gums bleed when you brush and floss, you might think that is normal. But what if your hands bled when you washed them? You would probably be less likely to write that off as acceptable.

Given the prevalence of periodontal disease in this country—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly half of all Americans have some level of gum disease—bleeding gums are undoubtedly a cause for concern.

It should be noted, however, that not everyone who has gum disease experiences bleeding gums or any other symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your gum health with routine visits to the dentist. At Downtown Dental, we recommend our patients see us twice each year for regular examinations and cleanings.

The Connection Between Gum Health and Overall Health

More and more studies are pointing to a direct correlation between the health of your gums and the health of the rest of your body. Researchers are now establishing connections between gum disease and the following serious conditions:

  • Atherosclerosis and heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Premature births and low birth weight
  • Respiratory disease
  • Stroke

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

The buildup of plaque, which is the thick layer of bacteria and debris that forms on the teeth and gums, is usually where periodontal disease starts. Daily brushing and flossing help to keep plaque at bay, but you can’t remove all of it with proper home care. What your toothbrush and dental floss miss hardens into a substance called tartar, or calculus, and this can only be removed with special dental tools. This is why routine dental cleanings are so necessary.

There are other reasons that people become more susceptible to gum disease, including smoking, prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal shifts, crooked teeth, and family history.

Can Periodontal Disease Be Treated?

It’s best to treat gum disease in its earliest stages.

As in most aspects of dental health, prevention is vital, so it’s important to brush and floss daily to help keep plaque buildup to a minimum. It’s also crucial that you visit your dentist regularly, so gum disease can be diagnosed early when it is more treatable.

Most people find that visiting the dentist twice each year is adequate, but if you have already been diagnosed with gum disease, you might need to see the dentist more frequently for deep cleaning.

Signs of Gum Disease

One of the early signs of gum disease is bleeding gums. This is gum disease in its earliest stages, called gingivitis. It won’t go away on its own; you’ll need to seek treatment from your dentist.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have a more advanced stage of gum disease, called periodontitis.

  • Gums that are red, puffy, and swollen
  • Bad breath that won’t go away even after brushing
  • Pus that is present between your teeth and gums
  • Teeth that have a longer appearance because gums are pulling away
  • Teeth that are becoming loose

If you have any signs of gum disease, it’s important to seek treatment right away. Call Downtown Dental for an appointment today!