Gum disease starts with excessive plaque formation. We all develop plaque buildup, even with good brushing and flossing habits. Dental cleanings every six months clear away plaque that unavoidably starts to build up under the gum line and hardens to form tartar or calculus. Have you had your routine cleaning recently?
What are the stages of gum disease?
- Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. At this stage, gums become red and inflamed and may bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be turned around with a regimen of daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups and cleanings — but it does need to be caught early. “Gingivitis is reversible but requires some sort of intervention.
- Periodontitis is a more serious stage of gum disease that can seriously damage the gums and structures that support the teeth. One of the hallmarks of periodontitis is pockets that form when gums pull away from the teeth. The bone and ligament that support the tooth start to break down and over time, the tooth becomes loose in its socket. Without treatment, the tooth could eventually have to be removed.
What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?
“People associate disease with pain,” says Quinones, “but early gingivitis is usually not painful.”
Here are symptoms to watch out for.
- Swollen or red gums
- Gums that are tender or bleed easily
- Chronic bad breath
- Areas of gum that appear to be pulling back from the teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that are loose
How can you prevent gum disease?
“You can save yourself a whole lot of problems: pain, money, aggravation, by just doing simple preventive things,” says Cram. Caring for your gums involves:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing once a day
- Seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings
Fiscus Dental on Bainbridge island is currently accepting new patients. Call today for assistance scheduling an appointment.
Andrew L Fiscus DDS PC
730 Ericksen Avenue NE #200
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110