Whether you have been diagnosed with gum disease or are just beginning to experience symptoms you think could be gum disease, you are absolutely not alone. According to the CDC, nearly half of adults in the United States have some type of gum disease.
Though some gum disease is much more serious than others, all of them are preventable if you are well informed about your own oral health, but undoing the damage is up to you!
First and Foremost: What is gum disease?
The term “gum disease” refers to a wide range of oral issues, ranging from gum inflammation all the way to serious damage to the tissues that support your teeth. The consequences of gum disease also range widely, from simple sensitivity all the way to tooth loss.
What are the most common types of gum disease?
The two most common types of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. Untreated gingivitis leads to periodontitis, and if you don’t deal with this issue, it can lead to furthered health problems and tooth loss.
Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontitis and causes your gums to be sensitive, red, swollen, and you will see them bleed during moderate brushing and flossing. Although this stage of gum disease is not necessarily uncomfortable, it is still a problem, and it caused by inadequate brushing and flossing over time. Not to worry, though! Gingivitis is totally reversible if you practice good oral hygiene or consult your dentist for further action.
Periodontitis is caused by untreated gingivitis when, over time, plaque spreads below the gum line and the bacteria produced by that plaque irritates the gums. That bacteria produces toxins that foster chronic gum inflammation which can lead to the breakdown of tissues and bones that support the teeth, leading to gum separation, tissue and bone destruction and the loss or necessary removal of teeth.
Why do so many people suffer from gum disease, and how does it start?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. Brushing and flossing get rid of the bacteria, but if they aren’t properly taken care of, these bacteria combined with other oral fluids can cause plaque and tartar. Typically, people will not show symptoms of gum disease until their 30s, but all people are susceptible. Typically, gum disease begins when plaque is allowed to build up over a long period of time, resulting in tartar that only a dentist can clean off.
There are certain things people do that increase their risk for developing some type of gum disease, and smoking, certain medications, and genetic susceptibility are among the most common.
What are the warning signs?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the warning signs can include:
● Constant bad breath
● Red or swollen gums
● Sensitive or bleeding gums
● Chewing becomes painful
● Teeth are loose
● Teeth are sensitive
● Gums recede, or your teeth appear longer
Typically, sensitive gums are the first symptom of gum disease, and many people don’t take this symptom seriously. If your gums hurt or bleed when you brush or floss, that’s a warning! For the more serious symptoms, it will be obvious to the patient that there is something awry in their gums.
What are the treatments for gum disease?
First and foremost, being actively preventative against gum disease by brushing and flossing diligently every day is the best way to ensure your optimal oral health. There are lots of home remedies, aside from brushing and flossing, you can employ to keep your oral health in tip top shape.
● Drink green tea — aside from being a natural replacement for sugary, carbonated soda drinks that are notoriously detrimental to oral health, green tea is loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation in your gums (and entire body!).
● Brush your teeth with a mixture of baking soda and water — this combination will help neutralize acidity in your mouth that can cause damage to tooth enamel and your gums if not cleansed over time.
● Use hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash or to rinse with — Hydrogen peroxide, though its taste is less than desirable, is a great germ-killer and antibacterial rinse that can help get rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
● Gargle or rinse with warm salt water — Though daily use of this method can cause major damage to your teeth, employing the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of warm salt water can be very helpful in preventing gum disease.
Periodontist in Los Angeles
If you’re already experiencing one or many of the symptoms of gum disease, your best plan of action is to meet with your periodontist in Los Angeles. Dr. Kao specializes in the restoration and maintenance of his patients’ oral health and can help you if you’re suffering with gum disease. He will personally assess your oral health issues and create a personalized plan of action to get your gums into tip-top shape. Please give our office a call to set up an appointment!