Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums. Bacteria, mucus, and other particles build up on the teeth to create plaque. If the plaque is not removed, it will cause gingivitis, which inflames your gums. If the gingivitis remains untreated, your condition can progress to gum disease, where the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that can become infected. The infection can spread below the gums to your jawbone and surrounding tissues, and you may begin to lose teeth. Some symptoms of gum disease include persistent bad breath, red, swollen, or bleeding gums, and sensitive teeth. Gum disease can be scary, so it is best to try to prevent gum disease by being aware of risk factors and following your dentist’s advice.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
While gum disease is scary, it is preventable. In order to keep yourself safe, you should be aware of these risk factors that you could develop gum disease or gingivitis, including:
- A genetic condition- some families are predisposed to developing gum disease
- Tobacco or drug use and abuse
- Poor oral hygiene
- Crooked teeth that you have trouble keeping clean
- Certain medication
If any of these risk factors apply to you, you should be especially aware of the symptoms and methods of preventing gum disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is by eliminating those risk factors that you can; for instance by quitting smoking. In addition, you can follow your dentist’s recommendations for oral hygiene (brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day, at least). Attending your regularly scheduled checkup and cleaning will also prevent buildup of plaque, and calcified plaque, called tartar. These cleanings are generally every six months, but if you have one of the above risk factors, you may need to go more often at your dentist’s recommendation. Also, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, which will promote better oral health.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999