What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a symptom of excess bacteria in the mouth. Physical manifestations of the disease include:
Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
Dusky red gum tissue
Tender, swollen or soft gums
Receding gums, either in spots or in general
Chronic bad breath
Gum Disease and Chronic Illness
Periodontal disease has been proven as either causative or related to the following chronic health conditions: stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, rheumatoid arthritis, low fetal birth weight, certain head and neck cancers, dementia, erectile dysfunction, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Prostate health in men is also a concern, as PSA levels are higher in men with gum disease.
The Stages of Gum Disease
The most common, and early stage of gum disease; swollen, red tissue and frequent bleeding during routine care are the most common symptoms.
2. Early Periodontitis:
The second stage of gum disease; earlier symptoms persist and bone loss occurs as bacteria under the teeth begin to consume supporting bone structure.
3. Moderate Periodontitis:
At this stage, bone loss accelerates, and the presence of bacteria does too. The patient’s breath will begin to smell necrotic and tooth mobility will begin as teeth are separated from the solid foundation of bone.
4. Chronic Periodontitis:
It’s at this stage that the patient becomes aware of the urgency of their condition. As teeth begin to shift in the mouth, a patient will experience a noticeable change in their bite relationship and teeth no longer fit naturally together. Periodontal disease is silent and painless, but bad breath and persistent swollen tissues will escalate to mobility and tooth loss.
How is Gum Disease Prevented?
• Brush and Floss
Most of us have been taught to brush our teeth twice daily, but most people, aren’t brushing properly. It’s been suggested that only 2% of the American population flosses daily. Both are imperative to prevent disease and maintain your health.
• Regular Trips to the Dentist:
Twice-annual dental appointments with us at Kooning Family Dentistry help you keep optimal health, both orally and physically.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
• Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is done under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort. The procedure is a deep-cleaning method during which we remove the build-up of plaque and tartar from above and below your gum line.
• Periodontal Disease Maintenance
Patients who have already undergone treatment for gum disease are designated for an ongoing procedure called periodontal disease maintenance. It is like a regular cleaning but includes antimicrobial irrigation and deeper scaling. Patients can eventually return to routine cleanings if there is no pocketing between teeth or disease present.
Gum disease is a serious issue and should be caught early or treated as quickly as possible. If you think you might have gum disease, don't risk your precious health by waiting too long for intervention. Call us today for screening and treatment.