You may not realize it, but bacteria are inside your mouth all the time. Good dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, goes a long way toward preventing those bacteria from causing oral health problems.
Unfortunately, many people still suffer with gum disease. This can result from tartar buildup inside your mouth, and the best way to remove tartar is a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
If you have red or swollen gums, if your gums bleed easily, or if you have loose or sensitive teeth, please keep reading. If you are dealing with gum disease, Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta wants to help.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. This can be minor or become a serious problem affecting your ability to enjoy daily activities.
The bacteria in your mouth can combine with other substances to form plaque. If this plaque is not removed from your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. As we mentioned above, you’ll need a dental professional to remove tartar.
If the tartar remains untreated, it could lead to bigger problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. This is considered a mild form of gum disease.
People who have gingivitis usually have gums that appear swollen and red. Their gums also might bleed easily.
When untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. If you are suffering from periodontitis, please see one of our dentists at Atlanta West Dentistry as soon as possible.
Periodontitis means “inflammation around the tooth”, according to the National Institute of Craniofacial Research. If you have noticed your gums appear to be pulling away from your teeth, you could have periodontitis.
When your gums pull away from your teeth, they create small gaps that can become infected. This can lead to problems with the bone and connective tissues in your mouth.
If this is not treated correctly, your bone and gums may be seriously damaged, and you could lose your teeth.
Risks of getting gum disease
Some factors that contribute to your risk of getting gum disease can be controlled.
Remember, you are the first line of defense against tartar, gingivitis, and periodontitis. We can’t stress enough that proper flossing and brushing can go a long way toward keeping your gums healthy.
If you are a smoker, we encourage you to stop. Using tobacco products means you have a higher risk for gum disease. Perhaps worse, smoking can also make it harder to treat gum disease.
Unfortunately, other risk factors are likely out of your control. Here are a few examples:
• Diabetes can make you more likely to have a gum infection.
• A side effect of certain medications is increased risk for gum disease. Some medicines cause dry mouth. This reduces saliva, which serves a protective purpose inside your mouth. Other medicines can cause overgrown gum tissue, which can be more difficult to keep clean.
• Genetics can be a factor as well. Some people are just more likely to experience gum disease because of their family genes.
• Females who are going through changes that affect their hormones are at higher risk for gum disease.
We know you can’t control all the risk factors, but we strongly encourage you to take whatever steps you can to keep your mouth healthy.
How can you treat gum disease?
At Atlanta West Dentistry, we do offer non-surgical treatments for people who are experiencing gum disease. While we hope you’ll never need these services, we are here if you do.
The first level of treatment is scaling and root planing. This is the removal of plaque from the roots of your teeth and under your gums.
After this “deep cleaning” procedure, we may ask you to continue your treatment with a gel that you will use at home. We also may schedule a follow-up appointment to see if more treatment is needed.
For people with more serious gum disease, we offer perio laser therapy. With this technology, we use a carbon dioxide laser to remove infected gum tissue. This makes it both more precise and less invasive than surgery.
Again, we want your mouth to stay as healthy as possible. The benefits of regular brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings at our office far outweigh the risks of not caring for your gums and teeth.
If you are concerned about your gum health, we will gladly take a look at your mouth and answer any questions you may have. To make an appointment at our Marietta office, call us at 770-744-4619.