What is Gum Disease
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Gum disease is swelling or soreness of the gums (the soft tissue) around your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. The plaque bacteria have toxins that inflame the gums.
If you do not remove plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth, it can build up and infect your gums, teeth and the bone that supports them. If not treated by a dentist, you can lose your teeth.
The signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless. The earlier gum disease is caught, the easier it is to treat. That's why it's important to see your dentist regularly.
There are Three Stages of Gum Disease
This is the first stage of gum disease. Your gums may feel tender and you may see some bleeding when you brush or floss. The American Academy of Periodontology considers gingivitis a mild periodontal disease. Gingivitis can be reversed by having a dentist or hygienist clean your teeth and with the proper brushing and flossing at home.
At this stage, plaque spreads to your tooth roots causing an infection, which can damage the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place. Your gums may begin to pull away from your teeth. Proper dental care and better home care can help stop more damage.
In this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone holding your teeth in place are destroyed. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen and can affect your bite. If treatment can't save teeth, they may need to be removed.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease
To find out if you have gum disease, your dentist or hygienist needs to check your teeth and gums. Since early gum disease can be reversed, it's important to see your dentist or hygienist if you see any of the following:
Your oral health care provider can tell for sure if you have gun disease. That's why it's so important to have regular dental checkups.
What Should I Do If I Have Gum Disease
Did you know?
People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease and lose teeth. Like all infections, gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise and make diabetes harder to control.
It all begins with good brushing and flossing.
Follow these instruction on brushing and flossing to keep your smile healthy and help prevent little problems from becoming big ones.
How to Brush
1. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the outer gum line. Gently brush back and forth.
2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently back and forth. Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom. Then, brush the chewing surface of each tooth, gently brushing back and forth.
How to Floss
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Dr. Christine Tenaglia
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