What are your big concerns when it comes dental care? Is cavities and tooth decay? Stained teeth? Bad breath? Missing teeth?
Where does the health of your gums appear on the list? If you are like a lot of people, it may not be on there at all.
Even though few people consider gum disease when listing their biggest dental concerns, it has has a tremendous effect on your oral health, as well as your overall health. As a matter of fact, gum disease is a major contributor to all the dental issues listed above.
At our office in Carrollton, we take gum disease very seriously and so should you. Ronald L. Proctor, DDS provides the latest in gum disease treatment, using modern dental technology for safe effective, and pain free treatment of gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
There are a variety of factors that lead to gum disease, some of them are easy to avoid, and some of them aren’t. For the most part, it all comes down to the amount of bacteria in your mouth, and certain habits and behaviors limit the amount of bacteria in your mouth, while others allow it to thrive.
Tobacco Use – This is a good example of contributor to gum disease that is easy to avoid. Smoking puts your gums at risk by changing the chemical balance in your mouth and causing dry mouth. Saliva has built in bacteria fighting properties, so when your mouth is not producing enough saliva, bacteria growth can go unchecked.
Smokeless tobacco is just as bad, if not worse, for your gums. Chewing and dipping tobacco raises the level of acid in your mouth, which aids in the development of gum disease. These habits also leave little bits of tobacco on your teeth and gums, which acts as food for bacteria.
Although nicotine vapors are technically not tobacco, they have much the same effect on your mouth as smoking does. So, switching to e-cigs will not protect you from gum disease.
Illness and Medication – Unfortunately, sometimes factors that are out of your control can contribute to gum disease. Both getting sick and taking medicine to treat the illness can throw the chemistry of your mouth out of balance. Dealing with illness is already stressful enough without throwing the risk of gum disease into the mix. So when you are under the weather, be sure to drink plenty of water, and come into our office for a checkup as soon as you are feeling better.
Poor Oral Hygiene – This is probably the biggest factor in causing or preventing gum disease. The risks of all the factors mentioned above could be decreased with healthy oral hygiene practices.
While you are certainly quite aware of the importance of brushing your teeth, you may not take flossing as seriously. Flossing is especially important for protecting your gums because it will remove the particles between your teeth that collect and feed bacteria. If this bacteria is allowed to thrive it will eventually lead to diseased gums.
Drinking plenty of water everyday will keep your mouth moist and help prevent gum disease, so don’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
One of the problems with gums disease is that it is very hard to detect in it’s early stages. There may be some redness in your gums, but often you won’t even feel pain while the bacteria is attacking your gums. If you notice some bleeding while brushing, this may be an indication that you are developing gum disease, so you should make an appointment at our Carrollton office right away.
Unfortunately, many people do not even notice symptoms of gum disease until it is in its advanced stage. When the bacteria has multiplied enough to cause advanced gum disease, your gums will start receding from your teeth. If your gums continue to recede, they will eventually expose the roots of your teeth, which leads to decay, loosening, and ultimately, tooth loss.
At this stage, normal activities, like chewing and drinking, can become painful. Your teeth will become weak and sensitive to the point that you will have trouble eating. When gum disease advances to this stage, treatment is a must, or else you will experience some serious health issues.
In the past, surgery would have been the only solution to advanced gum disease, but now modern dentistry has harnessed the power of lasers to treat gum disease painlessly.
In the next instalment of this blog series, we will discuss the how Ronald L. Proctor, DDS use the latest in dental technology to treat gum disease and restore your oral health.
In the meantime, contact us to schedule an appointment for an examination, so we can keep you from developing advanced gum disease.