Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, occurs when the gum tissue becomes inflamed or, eventually, infected. This inflammation and infection causes the gums to draw back from the teeth, eventually exposing the roots and causing the teeth to become loose and even fall out. With treatment, the gums can heal and again provide a strong foundation for your teeth. The earlier you receive treatment, the more likely you are to heal successfully and protect your teeth. When gum disease becomes serious, it often requires surgery such as gum grafting.
Early signs of gum disease that you should look out for include:
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth
- A red, purple, or shiny look to your gums
- Swelling in the gums
- Persistent bad breath or a persistent bad taste in the mouth
Any of these symptoms could indicate periodontal disease or gingivitis, and should be evaluated by your periodontist.
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular brushing and flossing are the best way to prevent gum disease. Everyday dental hygiene removes the bacteria that lead to gum disease and also massages the gums, encouraging healthy blood flow to the tissues. Use a toothbrush that isn’t too stiff or too soft. The former could damage your gums and your tooth enamel, while the latter will not clean thoroughly, nor will it provide sufficient stimulation to your gum tissue.
Your dentist will check your gums during your regular appointments to be sure they are healthy and that there are no signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. When gingivitis is present, the gums begin to draw back from the teeth, leaving pockets the dentist or periodontist can measure. When these pockets become too deep, you will probably require treatment, such as a deep cleaning, so the gums can heal.
Call our office in Dallas, TX, to reserve an appointment and keep your mouth feeling and looking healthy!