What is gum disease, really? You hear from your dentist that you need to prevent this oral health problem, but you know little about it. What are its signs and symptoms? Also, how can you stop yourself from getting gum disease?

What is Gum Disease?

Hygienist explaining to patient what is gum diseaseWhat is gum disease? Gum disease is a dental condition that causes your gum line to become inflamed. It starts from the bacteria in plaque, a white, sticky substance left on your teeth when you do not brush and floss as you should. Plaque comes from the foods you eat and collects at your gum line, hardening into tartar.

Allowed to worsen, gum disease can damage the bones supporting and surrounding your teeth. Your dentist diagnoses the oral health problem, then recommends how to treat it. With the right attention and care, your teeth and gums return to better health.

Gum disease includes three stages. The earliest form is gingivitis. Next is periodontitis, followed by advanced periodontitis.

Concerning Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include swollen, red, bleeding and tender gums. When you brush your teeth, you find blood on your toothbrush or your gums bleed when you floss them.

As your gum disease advances, your gums pull away from your teeth. This creates pockets at your gum line, where bacteria and food particles accumulate. You notice bad breath or a bad taste that does not go away. Your teeth also loosen with some collecting pus at the gum line.

Preventing Gum Disease

According to a 1999 study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), about half of Americans over 30 have gum disease. The best gingivitis treatment is to prevent it. Brush twice daily as you should, floss your teeth each day and see your dentist twice yearly. In your regular dental visits, the dentist professionally cleans your teeth, checks for gum disease and removes hardened plaque using a scaling tool.

All of this ideal oral hygiene and dental care prevents gum disease from destroying your mouth. Left to run rampant, your disease causes deterioration of your jaw bone. When this happens, the dentist must extract your teeth and it will be too late to ask, what is gum disease.

When you suffer gum disease, your dentist recommends tartar control toothpaste, better oral hygiene and possibly more visits to the dentist, beyond twice annually. Many patients need scaling and root planing, a gum disease treatment. In this procedure, the dentist or dental hygienist scrape your teeth under the gum pockets to your tooth roots and at the gum line. This helps encourage your gums to reattach to your teeth in better health.

What Other Dental Services Do I Need for Healthy Teeth and Gums?

For your healthiest teeth and gums, you need routine dental checkups. A well-rounded dental practice provides a mix of services, including:

You need the best dental care for your whole family, to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Then you won’t have to ask, what is gum disease. Call S. Keith Mahan, DDS at 407-841-7241 for a consultation in Orlando, FL.