Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a serious infection of the gums. It is a leading cause of tooth loss because without treatment the soft tissue and the bone supporting your teeth can be damaged. It can be avoided, so it’s important to know the early warning signs and what you can do to prevent it.
At Eckland Family Dentistry, we’re here for you at every stage of your oral health, and can help with early detection, prevention, and treatments to combat gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Most often, gum disease starts with sticky film on the teeth called plaque which contains bacteria. Plaque forms when sugars and starches from food interact with the normal bacteria that exists in your mouth. If plaque stays on your teeth it can harden to form tartar.
Tartar cannot be removed by regular brushing and flossing and requires cleaning by a dentist. If they remain, plaque and tartar can lead to an irritation or inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. If gingivitis persists, ongoing inflammation can cause gum disease.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
If your oral hygiene is poor or you smoke or chew tobacco, you are at risk for gum disease. Other factors include genetics, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, obesity, inadequate nutrition, diabetes and other conditions or certain medications that make you more susceptible to gum disease. Also, if you have crooked teeth that are hard to clean, gum disease can start there.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Healthy gums should be firm and pale pink in color. If your gums are swollen or puffy or have an abnormal coloring such as red or purple, that may be a warning sign. Other signs include tenderness, bleeding, bad breath or loose teeth. If you notice the gums are receding from your teeth or you have painful chewing, these also could be early warning signs.
How To Prevent Gum Disease
The habits of good oral hygiene can help reverse and/or prevent gum disease. Brush at least two times per day and floss once. Flossing before you brush clears food particles and bacteria. If you can practice these habits, you can prevent the conditions that lead to gum disease. Ask your dentist about the best practices for healthy gums and teeth.
It’s also important to visit the dentist or dental hygienist regularly, usually every six to twelve months. Risk factors for gum disease may require you to visit your dental care team for cleaning more often.
Finding a Dentist Near Me
Finding a local Washington dentist can help you protect your teeth and gums. Eckland Family Dentistry is located in four convenient locations Woodinville, Redmond with Dr. Kale and Dr. Colby, and Everett and can help with early detection and treatment of gum disease. Take the time to put your oral health first and schedule an appointment with us!