Periodontist explaining what gum disease looks to a patient sitting on a dentist's chair
Gum disease can be a major problem, but when it is discovered in the earlier stages, it’s possible to reverse it. As gum disease progresses, infections set in that damage bone and soft tissue. If you leave gingivitis untreated it can easily advance and develop into periodontitis. This can then lead to tooth loss and serious health problems. Luckily, knowledge is power, and by educating yourself on the types of gum disease you can manage your oral health.
In this post, we explain the different stages of gum disease and what you can do to maintain better oral health.
Healthy gums are light pink and firm. If your gums are red, they bleed easily, or there is swelling, you may have gingivitis. This is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. The good news is, at this point, it is very possible to reverse it with the right steps.
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease characterized by chronic gum inflammation. At this point, the infection has spread below the gum line. The bacterial infection deteriorates the jawbone at the same time as pulling the supportive gums away from the tooth. This combination leads to tooth loss as the supportive structures of bone and tissue atrophy. Symptoms of this can include receding gums, bad breath, and gingival pockets. This can lead to pus, which is a sign of infection.
This is a very rapid progression that stems from periodontitis. Gingival ligaments that hold your teeth in place may quickly deteriorate and jaw bone damage happens at a more advanced rate. luckily there are ways to reverse this damage with guided bone regeneration.
Chronic periodontitis describes the inflammation of the gingival tissues in the teeth. This can lead to bone loss as it is caused by gum recession. You may have gingival pockets and teeth may be very loose.
Systemic periodontitis is the overall development of gum disease because of systemic disease. Conditions like this can include:
To make sure that you don’t have future gum problems, one thing that you can do is improve your oral health routine. Make sure that you are brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash. Also, make sure that you visit your dentist a visit regularly every 6 months. To learn more about how to property manage good gum health keep reading.
Flossing is an important part of your daily oral health routine. Make sure that you floss at least once every day. Flossing will help you remove any plaque that may be beyond reach for your toothbrush. It's best to floss after you have brushed your teeth. You can floss in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon, or even at night. If you floss at least once per day you can significantly reduce the chance of periodontal disease.
Your dentist will easily detect any symptoms of gum disease if you visit regularly, every 6 months. Getting your teeth cleaned often will allow the dentist to detect warning signs before you get gum disease. A professional cleaning will remove tartar and plaque that might have built up. This can happen even if you brush and floss because of hard-to-reach areas. If you have gingivitis, regular dental check-ups may help you to fully reverse it.
If you didn’t need another reason to quit smoking, here's one anyway. Quitting smoking could drastically reduce the chances of developing gum disease. Smoking can weaken your immune system and it can also make it much more difficult for you to fight gum disease. Smoking also makes it much more difficult for gums to heal when they have already experienced damage.
Make sure to brush your teeth every day. This can help you to ultimately remove the food and plaque that may be trapped between your gums. It’s also very important that you give your tongue a good scrubbing. Your tongue could be harboring bacteria that cause bad breath, especially the back of the tongue. You need to make sure that your toothbrush has soft bristles and fits in your mouth comfortably. If you can, consider an electronic toothbrush. These toothbrushes are far more effective at removing plaque compared to a manual toothbrushes. Make sure that you replace the head every few months.
If you want to stop gum disease, make sure to choose the right toothpaste. There are store shelves lined with brands that claim to reduce gingivitis as well as freshen your breath. How do you pick the right one? Ultimately, it just helps to make sure that you pick one that comes with the ADA seal and one that contains fluoride.
Mouthwash is available over the counter and can help you to reduce plaque while also helping prevent gingivitis. Mouthwash can reduce the spread of plaque and reduce tartar, It can also as remove food particles stuck between your teeth.
If you believe that you are already in the later stage of gum disease, Dr. Markle can help. His professional experience treating periodontal disease can help you reverse even the more serious stages of gum disease. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenneth Markle. His team is ready to give you the support you need to make your oral health a number one priority.