Gum disease (periodontitis) develops slowly, and many adults have some stage of it. Having gum disease means your gum tissues are inflamed and irritated by a proliferation of bacteria. Early-stage gum disease or gingivitis include persistent bad breath, sensitive teeth, and sore and bleeding gums. Advanced stage gum disease can cause pain when chewing, receding gums, and loosening of teeth. Once you have periodontitis, you already have damage to the supporting structures of your teeth.
Gum disease can cause a cascade of other dental issues. However, if caught early, it is reversible and need not result in tooth loss. Knowing the causes of gum disease can help you prevent its progression.
Poor Oral Care
Gum disease is almost always due to bad oral hygiene and habits that cause bacteria to flourish in the mouth. The bacteria form a sticky plaque on your teeth, which can harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup can irritate your gums and cause cavities in your teeth. The bacteria can cause infection, which is the beginning of gum disease.
Lack of Dental Cleanings
The importance of regular dental cleanings cannot be overstated. Through regular check-ups, your dentist can remove tartar buildup and check for early signs of gum disease and apply treatment when necessary.
You may think you can remove tartar all by yourself, but it requires special instruments to remove the hardened deposits on and between your teeth as well as above and below your gum line. These tools are only accessible through a dentist. Your dentist can also perform a procedure called root planing, where parts of the teeth are smoothed out to prevent plaque buildup.
Another major cause of gum disease is smoking. Smoking accelerates tartar buildup and affects the normal functioning of the gum cells. For this reason, the prevention and treatment of gum disease always entails restraining from smoking.
Some medications used to treat health conditions can make you more susceptible to gum disease. Some drugs affect saliva production, which results in dry mouth. Without the normal flow of saliva, bacteria can grow uncontrollably in your mouth. Chemtherapy drugs are an example of prescription drugs that cause dry mouth as a side effect. If you take certain medications that cause dry mouth, talk to your dentist about steps you can take to reverse it.
It can be difficult to properly clean your teeth and gums if you have overcrowding or crooked teeth. Plaque and tartar can accumulate in the areas formed by crooked and misaligned teeth. These areas may be difficult for you to clean on your own. Talk to your dentist about whether it is worth straightening your teeth in order to prevent gum disease.
Gum Disease Prevention and Treatment in Henderson, Nevada
At Dedicated Dental Care, we are a family dental practice fully dedicated to helping our patients achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums that last a lifetime.
Our dental team provides cleanings and check-ups to help prevent gum disease as well as a host of other oral health issues. For bleeding gums and other dental emergencies, we also provide emergency dental care.