The best way to avoid periodontal disease is with active prevention efforts, and yet around 80 percent of Americans will have gum disease at some point in their lives, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association.
In most cases, this is a mild condition that can be treated with no ill effects. But in the worst case scenario, gum disease can lead to damage to the bones in your mouth and tooth loss.
We want you to keep your teeth, and we want you to have healthy gums. That’s why we encourage you to brush twice a day, floss every day, and make regular appointments to visit Nashua Family Dentistry throughout the year. Professional cleanings are a key component of keeping your mouth healthy.
Types of gum disease
The two major types of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is considered the milder of the two forms of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are red and swollen, and gums that bleed easily.
The good news is this can often be treated by better oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings by a dentist or hygienist.
If untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more severe form of gum disease, periodontitis. With this type of gum disease, you may have pain, bad breath, and gum recession (when your gums appear to pull away from your teeth). These pockets allow plaque and tartar to build between your teeth and gums. This can damage your gum tissue, the bone underneath your gums, and your teeth.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, four types of periodontitis exist. They are:
- Chronic periodontitis — This is the most common type of periodontitis. Patients with this condition have gum recession and pocket formation. They also have inflammation of the gum tissue that supports teeth.
- Aggressive periodontitis — Patients who may otherwise be healthy may notice rapid gum recession and bone damage.
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease — Patients with this type of gum disease often show symptoms at a young age. Diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease may be factors contributing to this condition.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease — This occurs when gum tissue starts to die. This may be the result of malnutrition or a symptom of diseases that weaken the immune system.
Reduce your risk
We can’t repeat enough that prevention is the best way to treat periodontal disease.
Brushing and flossing removes bacteria that cause plaque and tartar buildup. This bacteria lives in your mouth, which is why routine brushing and flossing is essential to maintaining your oral health.
You should also be aware of factors that may put you at higher risk of gum disease.
– Smoking or using other tobacco products
You know that tobacco use can turn your teeth yellow, give you bad breath, and increase your risk of mouth and other cancers. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it makes you more likely to have unhealthy gums, too.
– Females going through hormonal changes
This includes females who are going through puberty, who are pregnant, and who are experiencing menopause.
– People with diabetes
An estimated 95 percent of Americans with diabetes also have some form of periodontal disease, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association.
– People taking prescription medicines that cause dry mouth
Saliva helps remove plaque from your mouth. If your mouth is dry, it can be more difficult to remove plaque deposits.
– People with a family history of periodontal disease
Like many other diseases, genetics is a risk factor as well.
Treating gum disease
Patients at Nashua Area Family Dentistry can have their gum disease treated non-surgically.
The first option is scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning procedure that goes beyond what we do in a routine cleaning.
This procedure allows your dentist or hygienist to get into harder to reach parts of your mouth where bacteria is hiding. This can eliminate your periodontal disease at its source.
If you need additional treatment, we can provide laser periodontal therapy. Our soft-tissue laser allows us to sanitize pockets in your gums without the complications of oral surgery.
Laser therapy allows your gums to heal faster, reduces bleeding, and causes little to no pain.
For your gums’ sake
We will say it one more time. Brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings are the best way to prevent gum disease.
If you visit us regularly, we can spot periodontal disease early, and provide you proper treatment before it threatens your teeth and the bone underneath.
Whether you are a regular patient or a new one, we look forward to seeing you and helping you stay healthy. Call Nashua Family Dentistry at 603-546-7460 or use our online form to set up an appointment.