Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – is the inflammation of gums (gingivitis), which eventually causes gum, teeth and oral bone tissue deterioration. It is the leading cause of tooth loss and poor oral health among patients today.

gum disease

Routine dental care can significantly reduce your risk of developing gum disease and plays a key role in the maintenance of lifelong dental health.

What causes gum disease?

Excess plaque is the main cause of gum disease. It is a bacteria that builds up on your teeth anytime that you eat or drink foods that contain sugar or starch; the bacteria releases acid that attacks the tooth enamel which leads to gingivitis. Once the gingivitis progresses into an infection, it will destroy gum tissue and eventually degrade the bones in the mouth and cause tooth decay or cause you to lose your teeth; this is why it is very important to brush your teeth, no less than twice a day and floss at least once a day.

What are the signs of gum disease and what can I do to prevent it?

Some common signs of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
  • Receding Gums
  • Red, swollen or sore gums

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should schedule a visit to our office every six months for a professional tooth cleaning to help remove plaque buildup. Another way to prevent gum disease is to maintain a healthy diet. You will need to limit the number of sweets and snacks in your diet.

While vegetables and fruits are great natural options for meals and snacks, you should be aware of your selections as many of them are high in sugar. Also, drink plenty of water. It will help reduce bacteria in the mouth. Consumption of caffeine and tobacco products will only cause further damage to your teeth. It might be wise to cut back or quit altogether to help improve your oral health.

How does gum disease affect my overall health?

Gum disease can also lead to a number of other health issues such as:

  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Premature birth
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Inflammation brought on by gum disease may also increase inflammation throughout the body. Patients who may have any of these conditions are at further risk of their overall health if they have poor oral care habits.

At Tarheel Family Dentistry, we specialize in a number of dental services including periodontal therapy. We not only provide treatment, but we inform and educate our patients on the importance of maintaining good oral health care.