Gum disease is a chronic condition that occurs on a continuum. It begins as gingivitis, the mildest form of soft tissue inflammation and the only stage at which the process can be reversed. This is an important point to consider very carefully. Gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed. So, when you see the warning signs of inflammation in your gums, you need to know what to do as quickly as possible. We’ll discuss this condition and what to do about it here.
It is somewhat surprising to learn that nearly half of all adults over age 30 have some form of gum disease. The older generations have even more instances, with an estimated 70% of people over age 65 affected to some degree. Giving the benefit of the doubt, we could assume that the numbers are as high as they are because people are still unaware of how to spot gingivitis and why it is so important to treat it early.
Warning signs of gingivitis include:
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Purple or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed while flossing or brushing
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that are painful or tender when touched
- Development of spaces in between teeth
- Loose teeth
How Do You Get Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is an invisible sticky substance that is formed of debris, bacteria, and saliva. This biofilm can be very dangerous to the teeth, gums, and to our general health. It is constantly forming as a result of the natural prevalence of bacteria in the mouth, and that prevalence is exacerbated by the sugars and carbohydrates we tend to consume regularly.
It is because plaque forms so quickly that dentists strongly recommend brushing every morning and night and flossing once a day. If plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar, a hard calculus that can only be removed in the dental office. In addition to brushing as recommended, it is also necessary to have professional dental exams and cleanings done twice a year. This provides the dentist or hygienist with the opportunity to spot areas of tartar or inflammation and correct them early, before gingivitis becomes the infection we know as gum disease.
Gum disease can be managed with professional cleanings like scaling and root planing. In more severe cases, gum grafting and medication may be necessary. The earlier that prevention begins, the better. We’re here to help you with that! Contact Aventura Dental Center at 305-933-2501 to schedule your visit.