Gum disease doesn’t sound very nice, does it? That’s because it’s not. Around half of all Americans have gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. That’s because too many do not know how to treat it, or even how to spot it. That’s worrisome.
Gum Disease Explained
Harmful bacteria tend to live in your mouth. When they get on your teeth, they cause cavities. When they get on your gums, they cause gum disease. There are two distinct stages:
The first is called gingivitis. The bacteria have not really infected your gums — yet. Instead, they secrete an acid that irritates your gums. This can cause gum tissue to be swollen, tender, and dark. They can also bleed after brushing and flossing.
The second stage is periodontitis. Here, the bacteria have gotten into your gum tissue and you have a real bacterial infection.
Five Worrisome Facts About Gum Disease
Some dental problems are relatively small. Stained teeth can sap your confidence, but you’re not going to get sick from it. Gum disease is worse. To show you what we mean, here are seven worrisome facts you should know.
- If it advances to periodontitis, you cannot get rid of it. With gingivitis, the bacteria are still just on the surface. There are treatments at our Nashua, NH dental office that can help get rid of them. But once they have gotten below the gum and into the tissue, you will never fully get rid of that bacteria. You can keep it managed, but there is no cure for periodontitis.
- Your gums will bleed and can blacken. If you have gingivitis, chances are you have already noticed the bleeding. Because the gums are so irritated, it doesn’t take much to make them bleed. Even brushing softly and carefully can do it. Over time, the gums can also start to get redder and darker.
- Your breath will smell bad often. Because the bacteria are essentially pouring acid on your gums, the tissues there will rot. That gives off a foul odor as you think it would. You can brush your teeth and chew gum all you like. You’re still not going to get rid of it. Now think about kissing someone you love.
- It can lead to problems during pregnancy. The exact cause is not known, but studies have shown a link between having gum disease while pregnant with premature births and low birth weights. You know the drill, correlation does not automatically mean causation. There’s still a worrying connection.
- The infection can spread. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection. The bacteria get into your gum tissue and start to spread. Of course, your gums have blood vessels. That’s how food and oxygen reach the cells there. These bacteria can get into your bloodstream and wind up elsewhere in your body, ready to make camp and start spreading there.
- Your teeth can fall out. Ultimately, one of the worst impacts from gum disease it to your teeth. The gums will start to recede away from the teeth. As more of the tooth gets exposed, it starts to get loose. Eventually, gum disease will cause your teeth to fall out.
- You can have it without realizing it. This is the tricky one. Sure, bleeding gums is a big, obvious sign that you probably have gum disease. But everyone reacts to bacteria differently. For some, they could have gingivitis and be closing in on periodontitis without much more than an occasional swelling in the gums. Easily ignored, right? Sadly, right.
How to Fight Gum Disease
Gum disease is worrisome, but there are ways to fight it.
- Regular visits to our Nashua, NH dental office: Bacteria behind all of this need food. They eat the tiny particles left behind after you eat and drink. That means brushing and flossing will help. Unless you have dental training and the specialized tools, you also need to get a cleaning and exam from one of our dentists. They can also check on your gums and makes sure gingivitis is not a problem.
- Scaling and root planing: This is a deep cleaning method used to get rid of plaque, tartar, and the bacteria that live in there. Our dentists will carefully and painlessly scrape away build up on your teeth, both near the gumline and below it. This can be crucial in preventing gingivitis.
- Laser therapy: When gum disease starts to grow worse, laser periodontal therapy can help. A special dental laser is used to kill the bacteria building up on your gums. While the bacteria can return, you can at least give your gums time to rest and heal up.
If you’re worried about gum disease, don’t be. With the tools, technology, and training at our Nashua, NH dental office, we can help control and even prevent periodontal disease from becoming a problem. Call us today at 603-546-7460 for more information on how you can avoid gum disease.