What Happens When You Get Gum Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about 47.2 percent of adults ages 30 and older have some gum disease. That’s a staggering statistic, but what does that gum disease look and feel like? What exactly happens when you get gum disease?
Read on to learn more.
Modern gum disease has many causes, from neglect to infections and injury. The primary cause, however, is bacteria. Bacteria in the mouth infects the tissue surrounding teeth. Over time, it causes that tissue to become inflamed and ultimately leads to periodontal disease. If the condition goes untreated for long enough, it can cause tooth loss and additional health complications, including heart disease and high blood pressure.
While nobody is immune to gum disease, people who smoke, have cracked teeth, are wearing outdated or too-small bridges, pregnant women, and those practicing poor oral hygiene are at increased risk.
How Dentists Treat Gum Disease
One of the primary complicating factors of gum disease is a hard, scaly dental buildup called tartar or calculus. Plaque is the film formed by oral bacteria. When it is allowed to stay on the teeth for a long time, it creates tartar. Over time, the tartar on teeth can migrate under the gumline, further inflaming the tissue there and making it almost impossible for dentists to get rid of it.
In these cases, a dentist will first conduct a deep cleaning of the tooth and root, below the gums and along the tooth’s surface. In some cases, a dentist may also prescribe an oral medication (typically placed just below the gum) or even surgery.
After professional treatment, patients should maintain their oral health by brushing and flossing at least twice a day and visiting the dentist annually for checkups and cleaning.
When it comes to gum disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The first line of defense is and has always been brushing your teeth.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people who brush after meals develop gum disease less frequently than those who don’t. Flossing is also recommended (At least once a day, but preferably twice), as is swishing with mouthwash. It also pays to understand risk factors, including diet, smoking, stress, age, and genetics, and make a plan to combat increased risk of periodontal disease.
Beyond those tips, the best thing you can do is see your dentist on a regular basis! In addition to keeping your teeth healthy and strong, regular dental visits also allow your dentist to spot oral health problems, and address them before they become severe.
To learn more about dental services in the Sand Springs area, or to book your appointment today, contact Sand Springs Family Dentistry now!