Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? If so, you may have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.
Symptoms & Consequences
A telltale sign that you may have gum disease are red, swollen and bleeding gums, meaning they are infected with bacteria. Another way to tell if you have gum disease is if you notice your gums receding and if you have continual bad breath. Your gums may not necessarily hurt, so it is very easy for gum disease to go undetected. However, if the bacteria spread beyond the gum, they can affect your mouth down to the jawbone, leaving you with no choice but to get your teeth extracted.
Gum disease develops in three stages, from gingivitis to periodontitis, with each stage getting deeper to the jawbone. Gum disease has been linked to increased likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, to name a few conditions.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Though there is still much research that surrounds the causes behind gum disease, it appears that the number one cause is dental plaque, the sticky layer of bacteria that forms around your teeth and can build up if you do not clean your teeth often or well enough. Certain medications, including steroids and oral contraceptives, can also cause gum disease, as well as smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, and having crooked teeth that you cannot clean around easily, can also leave you more vulnerable to bacterial buildup and thus gum disease. Unfortunately, some people are also simply genetically predisposed to developing gum disease as well.
What to Do if You Think You Have Gum Disease
If you think you have or may develop gum disease, talk to your dentist right away. At Jackson Smiles Family Dentistry, we offer various types of gum therapy, including scaling and root planing, Arestin® topical treatment, and laser gum treatment. To check and maintain your healthy smile, schedule an appointment with us today!
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