| 02/15/16

healthy smileRaise your hand if you are guilty of not taking gum disease seriously. Now keep it in the air if you have ever missed a brushing session or failed to floss. Okay, you can put your hand down now.

We just wanted to grab your attention because gum disease is a serious issue, and we want to make sure that you give careful consideration to the information we are about to share with you. Consider this Gum Disease 101 – your guide to the prevention of gum disease. We will highlight what gum disease is, who gets it, and how you can prevent it.

What Is Gum Disease? What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is gum inflammation. For instance, you may notice bleeding gums when you brush your teeth—this is a sign of gingivitis. The disease occurs when bacteria in plaque builds up, causing gums to become inflamed. You can think of gingivitis as an early warning sign of gum disease. If gingivitis is treated, it is reversible and it will not progress to gum disease.

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can be caused by untreated gingivitis. At this stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets.” These pockets become infected as plaque grows and spreads below the gum line. If left untreated, the bones, tissue, and gums that support the teeth are destroyed, and the teeth will ultimately need to be removed.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Gum Disease?

Gum disease usually is not seen until people enter their 30s and 40s. It occurs for both genders, although typically, it affects more men than women. Risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • A family history of gum disease
  • Hormone fluctuations (like the kind that occur with pregnancy, menopause, etc.)
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Certain diseases like AIDS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
  • Stress
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces, or bridgework
  • Some medications, particularly those that have dry mouth as a side effect

What Steps Can I Take to Prevent Gum Disease?

Preventing gum disease can be really easy. To do so, we recommend that first, you minimize any risk factors that you can. For instance, if you smoke, try to quit. If your diet consists of nothing but pizza rolls, it is time to diversify!

Having addressed lifestyle-related risk factors, we would then advise you to brush twice daily for 2 minutes each time and to floss once a day. Lastly, we would encourage you to visit us every 6 months so we can thoroughly clean your teeth and look for signs of gum disease.

What Occurs at A Gum Disease Screening?

During the course of an ordinary dental visit, we will do a gum disease screening. When you come in for your appointment, we will ask if you have experienced any gum tenderness. Then, your gums will be inspected for redness, puffiness, and recession. In some cases, we may take an X-ray so we can view the bone structure beneath your gums to look for signs of deterioration. Early detection is crucial in successful gum disease outcomes, so these routine check ups are very important to not only your oral health, but also your overall well-being.

How Can I Schedule an Appointment?

Scheduling an appointment with us is easy! Simply call our office at 614.891.0440 or click here to use our online appointment request form. We are located in Columbus, and our office is open until 7PM for your convenience.

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