Residents in the San Francisco, CA area ask, "What are the keys to preventing gum disease?"
Gum disease is an issue that we see on a daily basis. A chronic bacterial infection is reversible in its mildest form. Once it has advanced, it can cause irreparable damage inside the mouth and it can no longer be cured. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. It can also lead to other serious non-oral health issues.
Good oral health, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits are crucial to preventing gum disease. With the proper knowledge, you can learn how to keep your mouth healthy.
Everyone has a certain amount of bacteria in their mouth. Every day when we brush, floss, and rinse our teeth, we are helping to remove these bacteria. When it is left alone, it can cause a plaque buildup on the teeth and inflammation of the gums. These symptoms are a mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed during regular tooth brushing
Fortunately, when caught early, gingivitis can be treated by a professional deep cleaning and implementation of a proper oral hygiene routine at home.
If the plaque is left to spread beneath the gum line, the gingivitis advances into periodontitis. At this point, the bacteria stimulate a response in the gums that begins breaking down the bone structure that holds the teeth in place. The gum will begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets that are susceptible to infection. As the pockets become deeper, more and more of the tissue and bone becomes destroyed, ultimately leading to tooth loss or extraction.
Gum disease can be prevented through a few easy steps:
- Brush at least twice each day, taking special care to clean all sides of the teeth
- Floss at least once per day
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash
- Visit with your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings
With proper care and nutrition, gum disease is one of the most preventable oral health issues. If you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it is important to call us as soon as possible for an evaluation.