It’s safe to say that most problems begin as quiet, inconspicuous developments, and then, after a period of time, they suddenly reveal what has been going on in the shadows. Such is the case with gum disease, which is why your family dentist in Fort Smith warns that you should be vigilant in monitoring your oral health to prevent this condition from developing. As you continue reading, you’ll learn some of the warning signs to be on the lookout for and how preventive dentistry can help in your fight against this condition.
What Causes Gum (Periodontitis) Disease?
Periodontitis is a condition that is caused by the accumulation of harmful bacteria on your teeth and gums. Bacteria are always present in your mouth, but when you eat, if there are leftover particles, bacteria rush to feed on them and exponentially grow in numbers as a result.
Over time, the various types of bacteria present join together to form plaque, a clear, sticky substance that clings to your teeth and gums. It’s very problematic because it releases acids that cause tooth decay and inflammation in your gums.
If the plaque is allowed to stay around, it will eventually morph into an even more troublesome substance called tartar, which is a hard, calcified layer that can only be removed by a professional cleaning. These stages of bacteria development lead to gum disease.
What is Periodontitis?
As mentioned above, periodontitis is inflammation of the gums due to bacteria growth.
Here are its three stages of its development:
- Gingivitis – This is the initial phase of gum disease and is the only one where the damages are completely reversible. At this point, you’ll see the initial warning signs that a problem is developing. You may experience bleeding, swollen, puffy, pink and irritated gums.
- Periodontitis – As the disease advances, you will suffer permanent damage to the ligaments and bone mass that hold your teeth in place.
- Advanced Periodontitis – By the time the disease advances to this acute stage, the roots of your teeth may be completely destroyed, leaving your teeth susceptible to falling out.
Can Gum Disease be Prevented?
Gum disease can certainly be prevented through two main avenues – proper oral hygiene and regular dentist visits:
- Oral Hygiene – The discipline that you display in your daily dental care is vital for the health of your teeth and gums. The act of brushing and flossing at least twice a day does wonders for your oral health, because it removes the food particles and harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease.
- Dentist Visits – In addition to practicing excellent oral hygiene, maintaining regular visits to your dentist ensures that any stubborn plaque and tartar that may be hanging around is addressed before they can cause havoc. These appointments also allow your dentist to closely examine your mouth to identify any developing issues, so they can be halted.
Thus, the main way to prevent periodontitis is to take a proactive approach to your oral care and contact your dentist when you notice any warning signs. In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy excellent oral health for years to come. To schedule your first appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out today!
About the Author
Dr. Gilbert Lopez’s passion to help people led him to earn his DDS from the University of Guadalajara. Twenty-five years later, he continues to treat and educate his patients with a desire to see people be as healthy as they can be. He practices at New Smile Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.