Periodontal disease, or gum disease is very prevalent in America today. In fact, most adults have it in one form or another. It may be hard to know that you have gum disease due to the fact that there’s no pain associated with it at first, and it progresses gradually. However, this is not a disease to be taken lightly because it leads to damage to your gums, teeth, and bone. Severe cases can even cause bone and tooth loss. Detecting the early signs of gum disease can help you learn to properly manage your condition.
The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It’s in this phase that you might notice that your gums are swollen, or bleeding when you brush or floss. The good news is that in the early stages, gum disease can be prevented from getting worse. A thorough professional cleaning and improved home care will typically help you get gingivitis under control. It’s important however, to stay diligent about your home care and regular dental checkups to stay on top of gingivitis.
The advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects almost half of American adults over the age of thirty. While it may progress slowly, periodontitis is very dangerous because it’s in this stage that you may begin to experience bone, gum tissue and tooth loss. People with periodontitis are also at a greater risk for other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
At this stage, your hygienist will perform a deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing that will eliminate bacteria and plaque from below the gum line. Antibiotic medicine may be applied if necessary. Your dentist and hygienist will monitor your recovery, but at this stage of gum disease you will need to be proactive to effectively manage it.
What Causes Gum Disease?
There are many factors that contribute to gum disease, such as stress, genetics, and your overall health. Smokers and tobacco users are at a higher risk for gum disease, as are people with health conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Did you know that if your teeth are misaligned, it could also put you at a greater risk for gum disease? This is because crooked teeth are hard to keep clean, which makes it easier for bacteria and plaque to build up.
The best way to combat gum disease is to keep it from happening in the first place. At North York Dental, Dr. Eli Shem-Tov and his team are experts at detecting the early signs of gum disease. Because Dr. Shem-Tov believes that prevention is the best medicine, your hygienist will screen for gum disease at every cleaning appointment and we’re prepared to guide you through the recovery process if gum disease should occur. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, don’t wait to contact our office and schedule your cleaning and check up.