Gum disease is a general term for the inflammation of your gums and other tissues that support your teeth. Gum disease begins as gum inflammation or gingivitis. Red gums, swollen gums, irritated gums, and bleeding gums after you brush or floss is a sign of gingivitis. As gingivitis progresses, it becomes periodontitis.
Dr. Sulekha Agrawal treats gum disease in Columbia, MD. She works with her patients to help them discover the right options to target their dental problems. Treating gum disease helps to restore the smile as well as the health of your teeth and gums. Your dentist can provide periodontal disease treatments to alleviate symptoms.
Periodontal therapy ultimately prevents complex problems such as gum recession and tooth loss. However, patients should know that gum disease after the gingivitis phase is not curable.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
There are many risk factors for gum disease, including smoking, poor dental hygiene, and genetics. Patients are more prone to developing gum disease if they have:
- Poor oral hygiene: You can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams. Patients are more likely to develop gum disease if they don’t maintain their oral health or do not visit the dentist regularly.
- Smoking and tobacco products: Smoking or using tobacco products can prevent your body from effectively fighting off potential gum infections. It also negatively impacts the immune system.
- Dry mouth: If you have dry mouth, you do not produce enough saliva. Patients with dry mouth are more prone to gum infection because saliva washes away bacteria.
Treatments for Gum Disease
There are a variety of common treatments we may recommend to treat gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Antibacterial Rinses: Antibacterial rinses are best for patients in the early stages of gum disease. These rinses can stop the spread of infection and stop gum inflammation and irritation.
- Scaling and Root Planing: Dentists use both of these treatment methods in tandem to clean the gums. Scaling scrapes away plaque and tartar build-up from above and below the gum line. Root planing removes the infection from the roots and also smooths them down so they can naturally reattach to teeth.
- Laser Dentistry: Dental lasers use light and heat to remove gum infection. Laser dentistry can recontour the gums.
- Oral Surgery: Patients in the most advanced stages of gum disease require oral surgery to restore their damaged gum tissue. We may recommend a specialist if you require more complex surgery.
How to Avoid Gum Disease
The only way to avoid gum disease is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. To accomplish this, you must commit to a proper oral hygiene routine. This involves daily care at home. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is something everyone must do. Additionally, flossing once and rinsing with mouthwash can help keep harmful bacteria causing gum disease at bay. Avoiding high sugar food and drinks can also help. Everyone was must also visit their dentist at least twice a year. A routine checkup will look for signs of problems and thoroughly clean your teeth. We will remove all the hard to reach plaque and tartar from your teeth especially at the gum line.