Have you noticed that your gums are swollen or bleed when brushing and flossing? Do you dismiss it because you think it’s normal or a result of your oral hygiene routine?
These symptoms are not normal in a healthy mouth and are signs that you have a bacterial gum infection that your body is trying to fight. A gum infection is referred to as gingivitis or periodontal disease, and it’s crucial for our Durham dentists to treat it as soon as possible. Without treatment, gum disease often leads to tooth loss and can also threaten your overall health.
Gum Disease and the Oral-Systemic Link
There is a mountain of evidence available that points to a connection between gum infections and your overall health and wellness. When you have a gum infection and your immune system fights it, the bacteria produce chemicals that are known to contribute to numerous systemic diseases.
A particular problem is diabetes that can lead to periodontitis and also make it more difficult to control your diabetes. However, this is just one example because there are other associations between gum health and overall health. Heart and lung disease, respiratory infections, dementia, and pre-term or low birthweight babies are just a few examples of the toll that untreated gum disease takes on your body.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
During every six-month dental exams and cleanings, our dentists and hygienist check your gum health and determine if you have gingivitis. Some symptoms to watch for are:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Swollen, inflamed, or tender gums
- A change in your dental bite
- Teeth that feel loose
- Chronic bad breath
If you notice any of these symptoms, call our Durham, NC dental office to schedule an appointment. Diagnosing gum disease in its earliest stages results in easier treatment and more favorable long-term outcomes.
Personalized Gum Disease Treatment
There are two types of gum disease, and the treatment that Dr. Vivek and Dr. Suman recommend depends on the extent of the infection they are treating.
Early Gum Disease or Gingivitis
The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, and when we catch it early on, it is typically easy to treat. Our hygienist performs a thorough dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth that your brush and floss can’t reach. Based on what she sees, our hygienist will also offer tips for improving your brushing and flossing skills at home.
Advanced Gum Disease or Periodontitis
Without treatment, gingivitis advances to the advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis. Now, the gum infection is starting to attack the bone and the structures that hold your teeth in place. As periodontitis progresses, your teeth begin to loosen, and, without treatment, advanced gum disease can cause irreversible bone loss and tooth loss.
Treatment for periodontitis at our Durham dental office involves scaling and root planing. This deep cleaning procedure removes all bacteria-filled plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and smoothes the root surfaces of your teeth to promote reattachment of gum tissue.
Schedule Your Dental Cleaning with Us
While gum disease affects nearly half of all US adults over age 30, the good news is that it is highly preventable with commonsense oral health care. Brushing twice a day, flossing once, and visiting Renaissance Family Dentistry every six months for checkups and cleanings all help you stay a step ahead of gum disease.
Please call our Durham, NC dental office today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning.