Virtually everyone understands the importance of taking care of their teeth, but how much attention do you give to your gums? Right now, about 85% of US adults have some form of gum disease, but many of them don’t even realize it – and thus run the risk of extensive tooth loss and other health problems in the near future. February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month; why not use it as an opportunity to learn the symptoms and consequences of the condition, as well as your options for gum disease treatment.
How Will You Know If You Have Gum Disease?
When your gums become infected (normally because of inadequate oral hygiene), you might not notice anything wrong. In fact, sometimes symptoms don’t appear until after the condition has reached an advanced stage. For this reason, the best way to catch gum disease as early as possible is to visit your dentist in Falmouth at least twice a year. Of course, sometimes there will be some warning signs, including:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding whenever you brush or floss
- Gum recession (meaning the gums pull away from the teeth)
- Oral sores
- Teeth that have become loose
- Persistent bad breath
What are the Consequences of Gum Disease?
While the effects of gum disease might seem light at first, the consequences will become more severe the longer you go without treatment. The bacteria underneath the gums will eventually start attacking the jawbone as well as the ligaments that hold your teeth in place. Eventually, you could end up with gaps in your smile.
It’s not just your dental health that’s at risk. If the bacteria in your gums enter your bloodstream, they could damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. It has also been found that gum disease can aggravate arthritis, kidney cancer, and other illnesses that cause inflammation.
How Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
Early gum disease is relatively simple to treat; often all that’s needed is a regular cleaning followed by improving your oral hygiene routine at home. But if an infection is severe, you’ll need advanced gum disease treatment. Your dentist will need to examine your mouth before thoroughly removing all the plaque and tartar that has built up underneath your gum line; they’ll then smooth your tooth roots so that harmful bacteria cannot reattach themselves easily. This process is often called a “deep cleaning.”
Like any dental treatment, deep cleaning will be more effective if you have the procedure performed as soon as you can instead of letting the problem grow worse over time. You should schedule an appointment as soon as you notice swollen or bleeding gums in Falmouth; take care of your gum disease now before it grows to threaten your smile!
About the Author
Dr. Rob McVety enjoys meeting new people and going beyond their expectations to create results they’re happy with. During a General Practice Residency at the Veterans Hospital in Denver, Colorado, he received advanced training in gum disease treatment; he’s pleased to be able to put that experience to good use at his Falmouth practice, Casco Bay Smiles. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (207) 517-7008.