Though often overlooked, healthy gums are an essential component of a great-looking smile. They serve as a seal and protective layer against harmful bacteria and debris. Also, gums provide structure and keep teeth in place.
Unfortunately, even if you brush and floss twice daily, you’re still at risk for gum disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly half of adults aged 30 or older have gum disease. Thankfully, gum disease is largely preventable through periodontal care, and our Babcock Family Dental team is eager to show you how!
Generally, gum disease starts out as a prevalent, mild gum infection known as gingivitis. Typically, gingivitis is caused by plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria that forms on the surfaces of teeth and gums.
When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing, it eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar is tenacious and can only be removed through professional dental cleanings. When tartar lingers, it irritates the gums. Sometimes, gingivitis goes unnoticed because the symptoms are so subtle and might include red, swollen, or bleeding gums when brushing.
If gingivitis is ignored, it can escalate into a more complex gum disease known as periodontitis. To many, the most critical distinction between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis is reversible, and periodontitis can only be managed. Plus, periodontitis is more destructive than gingivitis and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in America.
Poor oral hygiene and plaque accumulation are the top reasons for gum disease. Even so, other factors contribute to gum disease, including:
Signs of Gum Disease
Healthy gums are pink and firm. During dental cleanings and checkups, Dr. Nikhaar Keshwani
checks for signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease, like:
Although it’s possible to prevent gum disease with proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleanings, gum disease treatment options depend on the stage of gum disease. For instance, Dr. Keshwani can reverse gingivitis symptoms through a deep, periodontal cleaning known as scaling and root planing. But gingivitis reversal is only possible with early intervention.
If gingivitis morphs into full-on periodontal disease, then periodontal disease treatment depends on your manifestations. At first, Dr. Keshwani might start with scaling and root planing. Later, she might suggest a range of nonsurgical therapies, treatments for receding gums, or other therapy based on your gum disease symptoms.