The Road To Gum Disease

Posted on Aug 03, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

People are often surprised to hear that they have developed periodontal (gum) disease. And no wonder. When gum disease first begins, it’s often without obvious symptoms. Then, once it’s fully underway, the warning signs are often ignored.

Yet, the road that leads to gum disease is shorter than you might imagine. Below is the typical process of how gum disease begins and progresses:

•  Oral Bacteria: We all have bacteria in our mouths. This warm, moist environment takes in an enormous amount of bacteria-laden items. Bacteria is on our food, utensils, the glass we drink from and the pencil we hold between our teeth. Of course, bacteria cannot be prevented altogether. However, the problem begins when too much bacteria accumulate.

•  Plaque: Without proper brushing, flossing, saliva flow and diet, oral bacteria can reproduce rapidly. Their accumulation over the course of a day forms a sticky film you feel on teeth. This is known as plaque.

•  Tartar (or Calculus): In just 48 hours, unremoved plaque can harden into tartar. This is actually a cement-hard colony of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth. And, like plaque, tartar will continually reproduce and grow as the bacteria feed on tooth enamel and tender gum tissues.

•  Gingivitis: This is actually the first stage of gum disease. At this level, gum tissues are under attack and become sore. They may bleed easily when brushing and you may experience an aching sensation in some areas. Your breath will no longer feel fresh. At this point, with proper measures, you can restore your gums to a healthy state. However, there is a fine line between being able to undo gingivitis and its progression to gum disease.

•  Gum Disease: At this level, the gums are inflamed and tender. You may notice them darken in color and begin to pull away from the base of some teeth. You’ll have persistent bad breath. As it progresses, pus pockets will form in some areas. Without thorough treatment, teeth will loosen and may eventually require removal.

Nearly half of American adults have some level of gum disease. Sadly, it is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it’s one of the most preventable diseases with simple measures.

Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes per time), daily flossing, drinking ample water and limiting sweets and caffeine are simple ways to keep your mouth healthy between regular dental check-ups and cleanings. And, those 6-month check-ups are important. At this time, any tartar that has accumulated can be removed and signs of early gum disease can be noted. Toothbrush

Imagine losing your teeth and having to decide on a crown-&-bridge combination, partial, full denture or Dental Implants. These procedures can be avoided. And, contrary to what many believe, losing teeth is not a natural part of the aging process. With proper care, you can easily enjoy a smile of natural teeth all your life.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 828-274-9440. We’ll restore your smile and develop a program to help you keep it at its best.

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