Whether you’re munching on sugary snacks, drinking acidic or staining beverages, forgetting to brush and floss, or smoking, poor care can endanger your oral health. Your mouth is prone to bacteria and plaque buildup, which means your teeth and gums are vulnerable. Gingivitis, or the early stages of gum disease, can lead to periodontitis and eventual tooth loss. Can gum disease be reversed? The answer is yes, if you learn how to recognize and address this small problem before it becomes large enough to seriously affect your oral health.
What is Gum Disease?
In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that nearly half of American adults have periodontal disease, which affects both the teeth and gums. Gum disease results from the buildup of bacteria in your mouth, called plaque. This condition may cause inflammation, infection, and tooth loss if left untreated.
Look Out for the Signs
When attempting to reverse the effects of gum disease, it’s vital for you to catch it in its early stages. Always pay attention to the state of your teeth and gums. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible if you show the following symptoms:
- Loose teeth
- Tender, painful, or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Persistently bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
Understand Its Long-Term Effects
Left unchecked, gingivitis can progress to more advanced stages of gum disease known as periodontitis. It’s a chronic condition that is both painful, upsetting, and harmful to your lifelong dental health. You’ll require professional treatment to alleviate the symptoms. And if your condition results in tooth loss, you may have to undertake expensive permanent solutions, like dental implants or dentures, to continue speaking, eating, and drinking as normal.
Can Gum Disease Be Reversed?
Your best chance at preventing gum disease early on is through healthy oral hygiene practices, which include:
- Brush, floss, and rinse at least twice each day
- Use a high quality mouthwash
- Make sure your toothbrush is in good shape and replaced as often as recommended
- Drink plenty of water
- Get regular check-ups with your dentist
Considering giving up smoking if you do so regularly, as the habit makes you more prone to gum disease and slows your body’s healing factor.
Don’t wait to secure your dental health until it’s too late. If you notice the signs of gum disease in your mouth, take measures to reverse it before it has a chance to become a more persistent problem. Contact us at My Family Dentistry to set up an appointment, where Dr. Mullins can provide information on treatment options, like Laser Periodontal Therapy™.
(This post was originally published on 3/10/16. It has since been updated.)