Gum disease occurs when the gums are inflamed, receding, or the bone is deteriorating. It can be caused by smoking, the lack of good oral hygiene, or even certain health conditions. During each regular checkup at Julie Overberg Family Dentistry in Hillsboro, OH, your dental hygienist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease falls into two categories: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings at our Hillsboro dental office. In some cases, a deep cleaning is necessary.
If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removal. While it is not reversible, periodontitis can be managed with periodontal surgery.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco: Never use tobacco products, as they increase your risk of developing gum disease, as well as oral cancer.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease. With diabetes, the body is more susceptible to infection and finds it harder to fight bacteria.
- Certain types of medications: Steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives can all increase one’s risk to develop gum disease.
- Dentures that no longer fit properly: Loose-fitting dentures may indicate the loss of gum or bone tissue, both of which are signs of periodontitis.
- Crooked teeth: Misaligned teeth can be more difficult to keep clean, leading to poor dental hygiene.
- Old fillings: Older amalgam fillings, especially around the root of the tooth right above the gum line, can make the surrounding gum tissue more susceptible to gingivitis.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in the blood supply to your gums and affect the way your gums respond to plaque. These changes may lead to gums that are swollen, red, and more likely to bleed upon brushing.
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations at Julie Overberg Family Dentistry are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, floss between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits with Dr. Overberg to help keep your smile healthy. Call (937) 393-5588 to schedule your appointment today!