How To Prevent Gum Disease?
Many people who are concerned about their oral health focus on their teeth. There are obvious reasons for this, but there’s another aspect of ensuring you have a bright, healthy smile that patients often overlook, and that is their gums. The truth is that in order to keep your teeth strong and fit, the support system surrounding your teeth is just as important as the teeth themselves. When gums are not properly cared for and infection allowed to fester, this can result in serious discomfort and pain.
Dr. Jobst, at Grand Lake Dental, sees Oklahoma patients every day who are suffering from various stages of gum disease. While the condition is not uncommon, it can be easily treated and prevented with the right habits and routines. Dr. Jobst is committed to helping patients avoid the problems associated with gum disease before they become a threat to your teeth and smile.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is most commonly caused by bacterial growth and infection of the gum tissue. The most likely cause of gum disease is a lack of proper oral hygiene, meaning that a person is not brushing and flossing regularly or using a mouth rinse. This allows bacteria to build up in the mouth, which can lead to plague residue forming on the teeth.
As the plaque increases, the toxins present in the plaque will infect the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. Of course, some people are more prone to the build up of plaque, depending on a number of different factors. For instance, if a person’s teeth are crooked or out of alignment, this can leave gaps and spaces in the mouth where bacteria can more naturally congregate. Even a person with decent oral hygiene may find it difficult to keep these areas clean.
A person’s food habits also directly impact their gum health. Eating lots of soda and other sugary foods makes it easier for infections to occur. Likewise, smoking or chewing tobacco will interfere with the normal functioning of your gum tissue, making your gums more vulnerable to infections as well. A lack of vitamin C is also a cause of gum disease.
There are other causes that often can’t be helped, and people should take extra care when experiencing them. For instance, women who are pregnant will undergo hormonal shifts that can leave them more prone to gum disease. People suffering from diabetes or HIV/AIDS, or who are taking certain medications are also at higher risk. Finally, if you know you have a family history of gum disease, then it’s wise to be more diligent.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Short of going to a dentist and having it officially diagnosed, it might be extremely tough to diagnose the early signs of gum disease. In its earliest stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis. The name comes from the gum tissue surrounding the base of the teeth, the gingiva. At first, the infection may be unnoticeable, but as the condition worsens, the gums will become red, swollen, and irritated. The discomfort may be mild at first, but it’s recommended you come in for a check up as soon as you notice a problem.
As the infection deepens, the gums will become more tender, and bleed more easily during flossing, or even after brushing. Another likely sign is when a patient is suffering from bad breath, a condition known as halitosis.
A quick overview of likely symptoms of gum disease include:
- Tender, swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding from the gums
- Discomfort when chewing
- A loosening of the teeth
- Puss between the teeth
- A shifting of the teeth, or new gaps being created
- Receding gums
What other health problems have been linked to gum disease?
When left untreated, gum disease does not only affect the health of your teeth. Studies have shown that oral infections are linked to heart disease and clogged arteries. Strokes and respiratory disease have also been connected to periodontal disease. People with gum disease are more likely to become diabetic or experience a premature birth. These are all reasons to get your gum disease treated early, or to avoid gum disease all together.
What are the best ways to prevent gum disease?
There’s no big secret to avoiding gum disease. It all starts with practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis. This means you should be brushing thoroughly after every meal, floss on the regular, and use mouthwash with anti-bacterial ingredients. Good brushing habits also include cleaning your tongue and the roof of your mouth, not just your teeth.
A healthy diet is also extremely important. It is highly recommended that you avoid eating sugary foods and beverages, especially soda, as much as possible. Too much coffee is also bad for you. Of course, smoking or chewing tobacco is especially damaging.
If you are in a high-risk category, such as being an expecting mother, have diabetes, or have a family history of gum disease, it’s important to be extra careful. There is a strong genetic disposition to gum disease. Moreover, if you are suffering from heart disease, lung disease, HIV/AIDS or other condition, it’s much more likely you will be diagnosed with gum disease at some point.
Your Grove, Oklahoma Gum Disease Specialist
As the above overview illustrates, gum disease does not need to become a problem for patients. But in order to avoid the symptoms associated with gum disease, it’s necessary to exercise the right dental habits on a daily basis. Otherwise, it can result in painful infections that threaten the health of your teeth. Dr. Karl Jobst and the entire staff at Grand Lake Dental believe that prevention is much preferable to treatment, and we work with all our patients, no matter what their age, to cultivate a healthy routine that will stop gum problems from occurring.
After nearly two decades of serving families in Grove, Oklahoma, the staff at Grand Lake Dental feels extremely invested in the health of our community. That’s why we strive to treat each one of our patients the same as if they were a member of our family. For personal, friendly, and professional dental care, contact Grand Lake Dental today.