When you brush or floss, do your gums bleed? Or do you have bad breath or gums that are swollen, tender or red? If so, these are symptoms of gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease.
When it’s not treated, gum disease leads to losing teeth and other serious health issues. A recent study found that men with periodontal disease have a 14% higher chance of getting cancer when compared to those without this condition.
Since gum disease usually doesn’t hurt, you may not even know you have an issue. That’s why it’s important to visit a dentist for an exam and, if it’s needed, get the right treatment to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
Three Kinds of Gum Disease:
The following stages of periodontal disease are usually caused by bacteria in dental plaque:
Gingivitis is the most common type of gum disease. It’s usually caused by bad oral hygiene and can cause swollen gums that bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis can often be cured with treatment by a dentist and good home dental care.
Periodontitis is the second-most-common type of gum disease and affects almost half of all adults over 30 in the U.S. Periodontitis can develop when gingivitis is not treated and cause you to lose tissue and bones that support your teeth. If it gets worse, your teeth will feel loose and begin to move around your mouth.
While periodontitis is more common for adults, children can also develop this disease. When it’s not treated, not only can you lose teeth, but you’re at higher risk for heart disease and other health issues.
Advanced periodontitis is the most advanced type of gum disease and it destroys the bone and fibers of your teeth. It can result in teeth shifting or loosening and eventually being removed if treatment doesn’t work.
Some of the factors that can cause gum disease include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Chewing tobacco
- Poor nutrition
- Substance abuse
- Certain medications such as steroids, cancer treatment drugs, oral contraceptives, and some anti-epilepsy drugs
If you think you have gum disease, see a dentist as soon as possible. In some cases, a person doesn’t have any warning signs, so it’s important to have regular checkups, exams and cleanings with a dentist.
Preventing Gum Disease
You can take steps to avoid gum disease by:
- Brushing your teeth at least two times a day with a soft toothbrush
- Flossing twice a day to remove plaque and foot particles
- Using a mouthwash to help reduce plaque and get rid of food particles
- Getting cleanings and exams two times a year
- Quitting smoking if you’re a smoker
Need to Find a Dentist?
If you’re looking for a dentist in Spring or The Woodlands, Comeaux Dental Group offers comprehensive dental care for you and your family. They offer regular checkups, cleanings and a full range of cosmetic dentistry options. To set up an appointment, use our Request an Appointment page or call the Spring office at (281) 419-3194 or The Woodlands location at (281) 419-0333.