Home Experts Corner Experts Corner: How to Prevent Gum Disease

Experts Corner: How to Prevent Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease starts with good oral hygiene

Over half of the adults in the United States aged 30 or older, suffer from gum disease, which is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Your mouth is full of bacteria, as well as mucus and other particles that regularly form a sticky and colorless plaque on teeth.

What is Gum Disease?

Research suggests that periodontal disease is linked with a variety of other health concerns including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Inflammation is the common factor that scientists believe to link these systemic diseases. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, forms when too much bacteria in the mouth causes gums to become red, inflamed, and puffy. As the symptoms linger, the disease becomes worse, damage to the soft tissue and bone in your mouth can cause oral problems and pain. In some of the worst cases, periodontal disease will actually cause teeth to fall out. Scientists suggest that understanding how to treat periodontal gum disease may reduce the risk of developing other inflammatory diseases.

Periodontitis is the most dangerous form of gum disease. It starts with gingivitis, which is often diagnosed by symptoms of red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis can be easily retracted and treated by brushing and flossing regularly, and having routine oral checkups with your dentist. When gingivitis is not treated, periodontitis sets in, causing the gums to actually pull away from the teeth, and resulting in loose, broken teeth that sometimes fall out.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease can best be done with comprehensive annual examinations with your oral care specialist. In between visits, it is important to keep in mind the following risk factors:

  • Smoking: One of the greatest risk factors in developing gum disease is smoking. Among other health concerns, smoking is shown to not only assist in the development of gum disease, but also decrease the chances for successful treatment.
    Diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing inflammatory infections, like gum disease.
    Medications/Treatments: Hundreds of medications for various illness and disease have shown to dramatically lower the flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is used to protect your mouth from the growth and spread of harmful bacteria, and without sufficient amounts of it, your mouth is more susceptible to inflammation and gum disease.

Talk to your Denver dentists if you notice signs of inflamed gums that bleed easily, bad breath that won’t go away, sensitive and tender gums or teeth, loose teeth or painful chewing, as these may all be symptoms of a common stage of gum disease. Gum disease is treatable, and catching it early on in the process will help to treat the pain and bacteria inside your mouth.