You've heard a lot about tooth decay, but maybe not so much on gum disease. So take this opportunity to learn about a leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.
Also called periodontitis, gum disease impacts oral health and systemic well-being, too. What causes gum disease, and how can you prevent it? The dentists at Mapledale Family Dentistry specialize in periodontics at their modern dental practice in Woodbridge, VA, and help patients have healthy gum tissue and great overall health, too.
Symptoms of gum disease
Sometimes people can see and feel that something is wrong with their gums (maybe gums bleed when they brush), but other times, symptoms of gum disease are more hidden. That's why semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Mapledale Family Dentistry are so important.
On exam, your dentist may notice:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gum tissue
- A change in dental bite or in the fit of a partial or full denture
- Bad breath
- Pus at the gum line
- Gum tissue receding from the teeth (gums should form a little collar like a turtleneck sweater around each tooth)
- Tooth mobility
Unfortunately, when these symptoms are left unchecked, periodontitis advances, leading to tooth loss and destruction of supporting jaw bone.
Causes of gum disease
Bacteria which causes cavities also causes gum disease. This common germ multiples in plaque and tartar found in and around teeth and under the gums. Its corrosive acids eat away at tooth enamel and cause infection of the soft tissues and bone.
Poor oral hygiene--not flossing once a day and brushing twice daily as recommended by the American Dental Association--allows plaque and tartar to accumulate, compromising the gums. Additionally, a high-carb diet and hereditary factors play significant roles.
Treating gum disease
Prevention is best, says the American Academy of Periodontology. Reduce the sugar in your diet. Eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water to keep teeth and gums clean and saliva plentiful. Stop smoking!
Also, brush, floss and get professional cleanings (every six months or more often if your dentist feels this is necessary). If you are at risk for gum disease, our dentists will measure and chart your gum pockets, the spaces between the soft tissue and teeth so they can track the progression of the condition.
Finally, periodontic treatment in Woodbridge may include scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning of teeth and gums or gum grafting to cover exposed tooth roots. Trust the professionals at Mapledale Family Dentistry to do what's best for your oral health.
Find out more
If it's time for your regular check-up and cleaning at Mapledale Family Dentistry in Woodbridge, VA, contact the office for an appointment. How you take care of your gums at home and through getting preventive dental care makes a huge difference in your oral health. Phone (703) 580-9800.