If your oral health is important to you, then your must make healthy gums a priority.
When most people think of general dentistry, teeth are often the first thing that comes to mind. This is understandable. Your teeth are the most visible part of your smile, after all.
Keeping your teeth in place is what keeps your smile looking great. Unfortunately, too many people neglect their gums, which can have a detrimental effect on your smile.
Periodontal disease, not tooth decay, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. That’s why it troubles us to point out that nearly half of American adults have some form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
At Forever Young Dentistry in Sterling Heights, MI, we make treating and preventing gum disease a priority. The most effective way to do this when we (our staff and you, our patients) work together.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
Each time you come to our office for a regular cleaning, we also examine your mouth for problems, including the signs and symptoms of gum disease. We will alert you to any periodontal problems, and we will let you know what can and should be done to treat it.
In the meantime, we want you to know the symptoms that often indicate your gums are infected.
► Signs of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is considered the milder form of gum disease. This often develops when people are neglecting their oral hygiene routine, which should include brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing between your teeth and gums every day.
Unfortunately, a recent survey by the American Dental Association revealed that fewer than half of all Americans floss as often as they should.
If you see any of the following symptoms, take them as a reminder to brush and floss:
- Gums that are redder than usual
- Gums that appear swollen
- Gums that bleed when you brush and floss
Again, the bleeding is an indication that you need to brush and/or floss more regularly. By doing this, you should stop bleeding, and you may be able to reverse and then prevent gum disease.
► Signs of Periodontitis
Periodontitis is less common but a bigger concern because this is advanced gum disease. It often develops because people do not treat gum disease in the early stages.
The symptoms of periodontitis are more noticeable, and they help explain why gum disease leads to tooth loss.
- Gums that bleed easily (not just when you brush or floss)
- Gums that feel sore or tender
- Gums that have pus leaking from them
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from your teeth
- Teeth that feel loose
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
Those are the things you can see and feel. You may not be able to see the pockets forming inside your gums or the damage your infection is doing to the bone that holds the roots of your teeth.
Advanced gum disease is not something you can fixing by being more deliberate about brushing and flossing. If you see any of the symptoms we mentioned above, you should call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Many times we will start with a procedure called scaling and root planing. Sometimes this is described as a deep cleaning because it goes beyond the standard cleaning we give during a routine visit.
To perform scaling and root planing, we need to clean below your gumline. Many times, bacteria can lead to plaque and tartar buildup around the roots of your teeth.
Scaling and root planing allows us to remove that buildup and bacteria from your roots. We also may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that caused the infection and to reduce your risk of the gum disease recurring.
Unfortunately, some patients are at higher risk of developing gum disease than others. Those risk factors include family history, diabetes, and tobacco use. If you are more likely to experience chronic periodontal problems, we may recommend more frequent visits to monitor your gum health.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, don’t put it off any longer. You owe it to yourself and your mouth to have your teeth and gums examined at least a few times every year.
Our team at Forever Young Dentistry wants you and all our patients in and around Sterling Heights, MI, to have the healthiest mouths that you can. The best way to do that is by visiting us for routine care.