The leading cause of tooth loss in the United States is not tooth decay. It’s not accidents either.
It’s gum disease.
This may help you understand why the American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing every day. Unfortunately, a recent ADA survey revealed that a majority of Americans do not floss like they should.
This too may help explain why the Centers For Disease Control found that nearly half of American adults have some form of gum disease.
Preventing periodontal disease is the preferred approach to this problem. However, if you should find that you have developed gum disease, then we encourage you to seek treatment at our dentist office if you live in or near Eugene, OR.
The team at Eugene Family Dental is prepared to help you resolve this problem before it’s too late.
Signs Of Gum Disease
To know if you might have gum disease, you need to know what to watch for. Catching the problem early will make your treatment less invasive and more likely to succeed.
The early form of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If you have it, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
• Swollen gums
• Gums that are redder than usual
• Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
Often, you can reverse gum disease at this stage by improving your oral hygiene habits. Remember daily flossing along with twice daily brushing to remove bacteria and plaque buildup.
Untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. This is considered an advanced form of gum disease, and it requires treatment by a dental professional.
If you notice the following symptoms, please schedule a treatment:
• Pain or tenderness in your gums
• Receding gums (gums that separate from your teeth)
• Lingering bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
• Pus leaking in from your gums
• Loose teeth
Gum recession can leave your teeth less secure. As the disease progresses, it can damage your jawbone as well, which further increases your risk of tooth loss.
Treating Gum Disease
We want to reiterate that prevention is the best approach to gum disease. If you do notice signs of periodontal problems, please don’t delay in seeking help.
In our practice, we prefer to use non-surgical gum disease treatments whenever possible.
During your routine cleanings, your dentist or hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth that can lead to gum disease. If you already have gum disease, then we have to go a step beyond routine care.
That next step is a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Some people would describe this as a deep cleaning.
A dentist or hygienist will use special tools to remove bacteria, plaque and tartar formations from the roots of your teeth. This involves cleaning below your gumline.
In more severe cases, we may prescribe an antibiotic to help fight off new infections that could develop.
Once you have been treated, we are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding preventive efforts. Our staff can educate you on the most effective ways to brush and floss.
In the aftermath of your treatment, we may recommend more frequent visits so we can more closely monitor the health of your gums.
Are You At Higher Risk For Gum Disease?
We want to be clear that gum disease can affect anyone at any age. However, some people are more likely to develop this condition than others.
Some of the risk factors are things you can control. Other factors are reasons to keep a close watch on your gum health.
Poor oral hygiene greatly increases your odds of developing gum disease. If you are not following the ADA recommendations, which includes cleaning between your teeth and gums every day, then we strongly encourage you to start.
As with many diseases, getting older increases your odds of having periodontal disease, too. Women are more susceptible to gum disease when they are experiencing hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, and menopause).
People who have diabetes are more likely to have gum disease as well.
Genetics is also a factor. If periodontal problems are common in your family, please pay particular attention to the symptoms of gum disease.
Save Your Smile By Protecting Your Gums
Your mouth does a lot for you. You should do what you can to keep it free from infections like gum disease. You can do that by brushing, flossing, and keeping regular appointments at Eugene Family Dental in Eugene, OR.
If you haven’t yet scheduled your next dental cleaning and examination, call us at 458-205-5189 or fill out our online form.
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