Five signs of gum disease and tips for prevention

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Five signs of gum disease and tips for prevention

Here’s an important piece of news for people who care about their oral health: periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is known to be a primary cause of tooth loss among adults.  Evidence also exists that associates um disease with heart disease. Thankfully, the problem of periodontal disease can be treated easily, provided that it’s discovered in its early stages. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) notes the following symptoms of gum disease:

  1. Bleeding gums
  2. Gums that are swollen, tender, or red, or have visible pus when pressure is applied
  3. Changes in your bite, overall structure of your teeth, or in the fit of dentures
  4. Gums pulling away from teeth
  5. Having a persistent bad taste in your mouth or chronic bad breath

Let’s hope you’re not experiencing any of these symptoms.  If you fail to remove plaque from your teeth on a regular basis, however, your gums are definitely at risk.  Brushing alone is not enough – you must floss daily and schedule regular appointments with a dental professional to remove plaque missed by brushing and flossing using special tools.  

Ways to help prevent periodontal disease

The AAP also suggests several measures you can take in order to minimize your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Gum disease occurs when bacteria found in plaque buildup in the spaces between the teeth and gums.  As the bacteria begins to grow, the gums tend to get inflamed.

When left untreated, such inflammation can lead to the gums and bone structure that support them to deteriorate.  Gum recession or loss of teeth can occur as a result. As mentioned before, research exists demonstrating a link between gum disease and other diseases including heart disease and diabetes.  

Fortunately, the periodontal disease never has to happen in the first place.  Practicing the following habits may help reduce the risk of gum disease.        

Brush at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth after every meal assists in removing plaque trapped between your teeth and gums along with food debris.  Your tongue is a favorite hiding place for bacteria, so don’t forget to brush there. Tongue scrapers are also an option. Some popular toothbrushes today have a soft gel-like tongue scraper built onto the back of the head.

Floss.  Flossing daily removes food particles and plaque along the gum line and between teeth that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.

Use oral health rinse.  Rinsing with a mouthwash on a regular basis helps to reduce plaque and remaining particles of food that flossing and brushing may have missed.  If your mouth is sensitive, try using an alcohol-free mouthwash, as these tend to be less abrasive.

Be aware of your risk.  Potential factors that influence your risk for the  periodontal disease include things like diet, genetics, age, and smoking.  If your risk is higher than average, speak with your dental professional.

Visit a periodontist.  Get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) from a dental professional annually.  A CPE looks at various factors affecting one’s risk for periodontal disease.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael McBride, one of San Diego’s most respected dental professionals.  





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