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Gum Disease – How To Prevent It

Gum Disease – What Is It and How To Prevent It

When we talk about dental care our primary focus is to prevent cavities. But your gums are equally important as your teeth. Gums play a vital role in your dental health and help them last a lifetime. According to a survey by the American Academy of Periodontists, 47.2% of the adults of the United States have gum disease. Most of the time, gum disease is painless. That is why most people aren’t even aware that they have it.

The Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed regularly by brushing, flossing and regular visits to and cleanings by your dentist, the plaque can harden into tartar and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. When bacteria starts affecting your gums, you could experience:  

Gums that have moved away from the teeth so that there’s a pocket at the base of the tooth,

  • Red gums,
  • Bad breath,
  • Bleeding gums,
  • A consistently bad taste in your mouth,
  • Swollen gums,
  • A change in the fit of your denture, and/or
  • A change in the way you bite.

 

What Increases the Risk of Gum Disease?

There are countless reasons that place you at higher risk for developing gum disease. Some of those include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Irregular or improper brushing and flossing habits
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy or
  • Asthmatics or others who use steroid-based medications, calcium channel blockers and cancer therapy drugs.

What to Do If I Have the Symptoms?

If you have one or more of these symptoms, immediately visit your dentist. It’s important to get treatment started as early as possible. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and easily treatable and reversible.

The advanced form of gum disease is called periodontitis. This stage can over time lead to tissue and bone loss that support the teeth. This will result in tooth loss which is the final stage of periodontal disease. Once a patient has advanced to this stage, he or she will always have periodontitis. It can be treated and prevented from worsening, but it can’t be reversed.

If you have any one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms of gum disease, give Dr. Dana Keith’s office a call at (301) 236-9000. You may also stop by our office at 15434 New Hampshire Ave., NE, Silver Spring MD 20905.

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