Symptoms of periodontal disease, or gum disease, include swollen, red, sore and bleeding gums that often happens while brushing or flossing. It affects 75% of American adults according to The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). Gum disease not only affects the gums, but can lead to gingivitis which can cause receding gums and even tooth loss if left untreated. Good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can prevent gum disease.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA) periodontal disease is more of a concern for tooth loss than cavities. Everyone is potentially at risk for gum disease, but risk factors increase with age, in those who smoke and with pregnancy. The best way to prevent gum disease is good oral hygiene.
Brushing twice daily is important. Many overlook the importance of flossing. With regular flossing comes healthier and tighter gums. Floss goes in between teeth at the gum line, removing food before it can turn in to plaque. Plaque eventually hardens and turns in to tartar which is the culprit for gum disease. Only a dental professional can clear away tartar and treat gum disease properly to prevent damage.
Periodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with the treatment of gum disease and its contributing factors. A Periodontist can treat mild gum disease with a regular cleaning, or may recommend a deep cleaning to remove the bacteria below the gum line. Depending on the severity, surgical treatments may be an option. New treatments for gum disease have proven to be more comfortable and provide less down time than ever before. The sooner gum disease is treated, the less treatment that is needed and the better the outcome.
While sore and bleeding gums are common warning signs of gum disease, often there are no signs and symptoms. Only a dentist can tell you whether you have gum disease. Visiting the dentist for regular check-ups can prevent future tooth loss, and keep gums and teeth healthy, always.