Keeping your gums healthy is crucial not just to keep your smile looking its best, but also for your overall health. Gum disease, clinically called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States and is linked to health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. Learn how to protect your gum health with Dallas, TX cosmetic dentist Dr. William Huckin.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the disease of the gum tissues that surround the teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. It starts with bacteria in the mouth, and, if untreated, it can end with tooth loss.
The main cause of gum disease is bacteria in plaque that is left untreated. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and other particles to form plaque on teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar.
To get rid of the bacteria, our immune systems release defense cells that cause areas around the teeth to become inflamed. As our gums swell, they pull away from the teeth creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to settle in.
Some other causes of poor gum health are poor nutrition, pregnancy, tooth grinding, missing or cracked teeth, and tobacco use.
Can I Prevent Gum Disease and Protect My Gum Health?
If caught early, gum disease is preventable and reversible. The first stage is gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums without loss of bone. It is a mild and reversible form of periodontitis, but not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Plaque builds up on teeth and gums become inflamed, but teeth are still firmly planted in sockets. If left untreated, gum inflammation can lead to gum disease.
Your gum health is most at risk when gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, when the destruction has reached the underlying bone. The pockets created by gum inflammation deepen and more gum tissue and bone are affected. Eventually, due to loss of support, the teeth can become loose and fall out.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that pull away from teeth.
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
- New spaces developing between your teeth.
When to See A Dentist About Your Gum Health in Dallas, TX
If your gums bleed easily when brushing or flossing, your gums pull away from the teeth or feel swollen or tender, or if there is a persistent bad taste in the mouth, you may have indications of gum disease. A periodontal evaluation with X-rays is the best way to detect the severity of gum disease, so if you notice any symptoms, do not wait to call your dentist.
Dallas, TX cosmetic dentist Dr. Huckin will help you protect your gum health so you can smile beautifully for a lifetime. Call our office at 214.216.6577 or schedule an appointment online today.