Gum disease is a very common oral health condition that affects the soft tissue that surrounds your teeth. It affects 42% of adults over the age of 30 in the US and is a progressive disease that begins with gingivitis (mild inflammation of the gums), and advances to periodontitis (a more severe form of the disease) that can result in tooth mobility issues and even tooth loss. Your oral health is deeply connected to your overall health, and as the foundations of your mouth, gum health is being highlighted this month during National Gum Care Month to ensure we take care of this important piece of the puzzle to stay healthy.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Like any disease, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so that you can take action as soon as you see any of the following issues:
Swollen or inflamed gums
Red or bleeding gums
Persistent bad breath
Pockets forming between your teeth and gums
Treatments for gum disease vary depending on your needs. For mild cases, professional cleaning twice a year with a proper oral hygiene routine can reverse these issues. Periodontitis may require more intensive treatments, such as antibiotics, deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), or even surgery. If we see a severe case of periodontitis, Dr. Larry G. Reyes will refer you to a gum specialist. With tooth loss, we have various options for restoration depending on the health of your surrounding teeth and whether or not you’ve experienced bone loss.
To avoid gum-related issues, we advise you to visit our Lorton dental practice at least twice a year for professional cleanings and an exam so Dr. Reyes and the dental hygiene team can spot any early signs of periodontal disease. Other things you can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing gum disease is refraining from smoking, and also eating a diet that’s rich in nutrients and low in sugars.
Don’t forget to make your dental exam and cleaning appointment to stay on top of any oral health issues, and if you are worried about any of the symptoms shared above, it’s important not to wait until your scheduled appointment and see your Lorton dentist as soon as possible.