Gum Disease Treatment and Prevention
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a serious yet preventable oral health concern affecting nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At Gentle Dental, our Louisville dentist staff recognizes the importance of early detection, treatment, and prevention of gum disease and are happy to help you and your loved ones learn more about this important condition.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease develops gradually over time. It causes inflammation and infection in the gums, teeth, and bone tissue supporting the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to problems with the way your mouth looks, feels, and functions.
Gum disease may also increase the risk of other health problems, like heart disease and dementia. This might be because gums and teeth damaged by periodontitis make it easier for bacteria to get into the bloodstream and infect organs and tissues elsewhere in the body.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease usually develops after plaque (a thin, sticky layer of bacteria on the teeth) builds up and hardens into tartar. Tartar, which can’t be removed by brushing or flossing, introduces more bacteria into the mouth, causing inflammation and infections over time. Plaque and tartar build-up is primarily caused by poor oral health habits, such as not flossing or brushing regularly.
Other common causes or risk factors of gum disease include family history, tobacco or drug use, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, the use of certain medications, and certain underlying health conditions like obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
People with gum disease often experience signs and symptoms like:
- Puffy and tender gums that look bright red or purplish
- Gums that bleed easily, even while brushing or flossing
- Foul breath
- Receding gums (teeth begin to appear longer)
- Loose or missing teeth
- New spaces between teeth or a change in the way teeth fit together while biting down
- Pain while chewing
- Abscesses (pockets of pus) between the teeth and gums
Gum Disease: How A Dentist Can Help
It’s important to know that periodontitis cannot be reversed—only slowed down. However, the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, can be reversed—primarily through regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental examinations and cleanings.
At Gentle Dental Care, our team can help you prevent gum disease by removing tartar build-up, identifying early warning signs of gum disease, and helping you build and maintain healthy oral habits.
Are You Concerned About Gum Disease?
If you’re concerned about your dental health, don’t put off a visit to the dentist. Contact Gentle Dental Care today by calling 1.502.452.1877 to schedule a dental exam.