Gum disease can lead to unattractive symptoms like swollen and dark red gums. Over time, the gum condition can lead to gum tissue recession and, eventually, the loss of a tooth. The doctors of Metro Dental Care can help you stay ahead of gum disease through regular dental cleanings and periodontal treatments. Only a trained dentist can diagnose gum disease, but this overview will provide some of the basics every patient should know about this condition.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Certain people are more prone to developing gum disease than others. While genetics does play a role in how gum disease starts and spreads, many of the leading risk factors are related to habits that are developed in adulthood. Diet plays an important role in oral health. Malnutrition can lead to a host of dental problems but so can a diet that is heavy in sugar and starches.
High levels of sugar create an acidic environment that can lead to advanced tooth decay and gum disease. Studies have shown that individuals who eat a plant-based diet are less likely to suffer from dental problems.
Not surprisingly, oral hygiene habits play a key role in preventing or addressing gum disease. Beyond brushing and flossing regularly, professional cleanings at our dental practice can remove tartar that brushing alone cannot address. When you do brush and floss, discomfort and bleeding are signs that you have gingivitis. To augment your oral hygiene regimen, try investing in a quality electric toothbrush, water flosser, and a therapeutic mouthwash.
Age is another risk factor. Although gum disease can and does occur at any age, individuals over 65 are at increased risk for this condition. Around 10 percent of geriatric individuals have advanced periodontitis, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you smoke, you are twice as likely to have gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That risk is proportional to the number of cigarettes that are smoked daily, meaning heavy smokers may be at even greater risk of having gum disease. Gum disease treatments for tobacco users are less effective. The only truly effective way to lower these risk factors is to cease using tobacco products.
Other risk factors include:
- Certain medical conditions
- Unaddressed tooth decay
- Dry mouth
- Hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy or oral contraceptives
Seek Gum Disease Treatment Today
Now that you know the risk factors, you can begin seeking effective treatment. Your customized treatment plan will begin with a thorough evaluation of your gums and supportive structures. A member of our dental team will measure the depth of the pockets below your gumline to determine how severe your gum disease is. Gingivitis can often be treated through professional dental cleanings. You may need to schedule cleanings at regular intervals until your symptoms subside.
The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. This stage requires a deep cleaning. The non-surgical technique uses an ultrasonic device to meticulously remove stubborn plaque and tartar build-up from the base of the tooth and even beneath the gum line. This step is then followed with a treatment that smooths the root surface so soft tissue can reattach. Advanced cases of periodontitis may require gum surgery or a gum graft.
Schedule Your Periodontal Care Treatment Today
At all times, your comfort will be kept in mind. With improved oral hygiene habits and follow-up visits to our office, you can maintain your healthier smile and prevent the return of this disease. To schedule your next visit, please call (303) 534-2626.