When it comes to oral health, teeth are the things that you see, so they get the most attention. This makes sense, but it’s not entirely fair to the other parts of your mouth that get neglected. These include the areas around the jawbone and gums, called the periodontal region. Not taking care of these areas along with your teeth can lead to all your brushing efforts being for naught, and yet, it’s one of the most common oral health issues in the developed world. Here’s how periodontal, or gum diseases, work.
Gum Disease Explained
It’s important to note that there isn’t a single monolith called gum diseases. In reality, these are a group of different diseases that encompass several infections of the bones, tissues, and other structures that surround and support the teeth. Not all bacteria in the mouth is bad, but lots of it can lead to issues over time, particularly if you don’t brush. Brushing regularly wipes away bacteria from the surface of the teeth. Left unchecked, it hardens into tartar, which you can’t get rid of by yourself. Tartar doesn’t only affect the teeth, but the areas around the teeth, and the stakes are high. Periodontal diseases can destroy the structures around the teeth, leaving them so loose they need to be taken out. There are also correlations between periodontal disease and a variety of other health problems.
Dealing With Gum Disease
Because there isn’t any one type of gum disease, there are lots of different symptoms. You may want to see your dentist if you start seeing several of the following things going on:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Tenderness around the gums and teeth
- Bad breath
Some people are also at higher risk of gum disease due to certain life factors. Here are some things to look out for.
- Smoking: Not only is smoking a major risk factor, it can actually inhibit treatments for gum disease. Combine this with the fact that it can stain teeth, and getting rid of smoking can be one of the best things you can do for your mouth.
- Hormonal changes in women and girls: Among the many different types of changes that go on at this age, gums get more sensitive. This makes it easier for health issues to develop in this region
- Diabetes. Studies show that diabetes patients have a higher risk of infection. This includes infections of the gums.
- Medications. Saliva has a lot of different effects, but one thing that it does is have a protective effect on the mouth. However, many different medications reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. This renders the mouth vulnerable to various infections, including gum disease.
- Genetic susceptibility. Some people are naturally more prone to gum issues. You may want to check your family history to see if some of your relatives have dealt with gum issues, and what their oral hygiene habits were.
Treatment and Maintenance of Periodontal Disease
The best approach to handle periodontal disease is to make sure it never happens by brushing regularly. However, there are things you can do when you already hit this point. In the early stages, treatment is pretty simple. A few cleanings will remove the tartar, and your dentist will likely provide some advice to make sure things don’t get out of hand again. At an advanced level, you may need a special cleaning. This process is called scaling and root planing, and removes tartar and plaque from above and below the gum line. In some cases, you may need specialized surgery to handle the issue.
Periodontal disease is perfectly treatable, but the further you let it go, the more painful and expensive it becomes to get rid of it. For these reasons, not only do you want to attend to your gums just as much as your teeth, bring the situation up to your dentist in Lafayette.
- Here are some things you can ask:
- How are my gums doing?
- What can I do to keep the gums clean?
Taking a little extra effort to remember your gums can pay a lot off in the end, and it doesn’t require any extra effort from you. Just brush your gums and keep a regular hygiene regimen and you will be ahead of the game.