Periodontal (Gum) Disease & Your Oral Health
At Anchorage Dental Associates, your oral health is our main priority. That is why we believe it is important for you to understand the causes, symptoms, and risks associated with periodontal disease. The term “periodontal” refers to the tissue that surrounds your teeth (your gums), and it is a dental topic we encourage our Anchorage patients learn about. With a little knowledge and some simple preventive steps, you can keep your mouth healthy and disease free.
What is Gum Disease
Causes of Periodontal Disease
In short, the periodontal (gum) disease is caused by bacteria in plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth and eventually causes tooth decay. In response to plaque, the cells in your immune system release substances that damage your gums. This can cause swollen or bleeding gums, which are symptoms of gingivitis: a preliminary form of periodontal disease.
While bacteria may be the main culprit, there are several factors that can also contribute to periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene habits are the most significant factor. Your chances of developing gingivitis increase if you do not brush and floss on a daily basis, or if you are a smoker. There are also factors outside of your control. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, you are at a greater risk. Also, hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause can make your gums more sensitive, and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
What Causes Gum Disease
Patients who take medications that lessen the flow of saliva or cause abnormal growth of gum tissue are also at risk. If you suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV, you may develop infections that can lead to periodontal disease.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Often, the symptoms of periodontal disease are subtle and progress painlessly. Although the symptoms may be less than obvious, certain warning signs should not be ignored. Some of these include:
If you suspect you may have periodontal disease, it is important to visit our Anchorage, AK dental office as soon as possible. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances are of reversing the disease and avoiding permanent damage. Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some form of the disease. In some cases, periodontal disease may only affect your posterior teeth, such as your molars and premolars.
Oral health and Gum Disease
How to Prevent and Treat Periodontal Disease
In nearly all cases, gingivitis can be reversed and stopped with proper plaque control. Professional cleanings at least twice a year and good oral hygiene habits can help eliminate plaque build-up. Brushing will help to remove plaque on the surface of your tooth, while flossing will remove the plaque between your teeth and below the gums. Other lifestyle changes can also decrease your risk of developing gum disease. Reducing stress, maintaining a well-balanced diet, and avoiding clenching can all be effective methods.
If gingivitis progresses to a more serious form of periodontal disease, we have several treatment options available. Treatment options may range depending on the stage of the disease, but the goal is to reduce swelling, eliminate deep pockets, and reattach healthy gum to your teeth.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Again, if you have notices any symptoms of periodontal disease contact us as soon as possible. Call (907) 885-3666 and schedule your appointment today at our dental practice. We are looking forward to working with you and being your Anchorage dentist.
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