What is one of North America’s most common oral health problems today?
If you had to take a guess, what would you say was the most common oral health problem affecting North America today? Would it surprise you to know that gum disease is still a leading problem for many? If you want to protect your teeth and keep your gums healthy, here’s what you need to know.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is an oral infection that affects the normal state of your gums, teeth and even your overall physical health. It is caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque left behind in the spaces and cracks between your teeth and gums. Eventually, this filmy build-up can irritate your gums and cause them to become inflamed and infected.
How does gum disease develop?
Gingivitis develops slowly, and this is perhaps why the early signs of are so often ignored. It is important to watch for these symptoms, however, because gum disease is not something that simply goes away. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it will continue to advance. Here are the stages of gum disease:
- Early signs include slightly tender, swollen and bleeding gums
- In the secondary stage, gums may begin to pull away from your teeth, making them look longer
- Further advancement of infection includes pus pockets that form in the infected areas of your gums, causing foul smelling breath and a bad taste that won’t go away
- Periodontitis, a more advanced form of the disease involves further breakdown of both the gum and bone tissue, causing your teeth to loosen, shift or, in severe cases, even fall out
How can you protect yourself from gum disease?
Crooked, tightly aligned teeth can be difficult to clean properly, but even when teeth seem perfect, some patients may have a hereditary predisposition to getting gum disease. Here are a few things you can do to help you avoid getting gum disease:
- Commit to a twice-daily brushing and flossing routine
- Maintain routine dental appointments for checkups and professional deep-cleaning
- Inform your dentist of any medications, illnesses or hormonal changes that may affect your dental health
Where can you learn more?
Contact Chestermere dentist Dr Lowry to schedule your routine checkup today to learn more about how you can maintain healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.