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Gum Disease and How You Can Prevent It

Handsome man smilingIf you have recently been diagnosed with gum disease, you’re not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as many as half of the adults in the U.S. have gum disease and will end up losing a tooth (or multiple teeth) as a result. In fact, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has found that the number one reason for tooth loss in American adults is gum disease.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent or reverse gum disease and save your teeth in the process. Before we discuss how to prevent gum disease, we’d like our patients to understand a little more about what causes it and how it progresses.

Gum Disease Information

Gum disease is caused when plaque and bacteria begin to build up along the gum line. As the plaque is allowed to lodge below the gum line and the roots of the teeth, the tissue will become irritated and inflamed. The more swollen and irritated the gum tissue becomes, it will begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where even more plaque and bacteria can accumulate. As a result of the gum recession, the roots of the teeth will begin to loosen and eventually fall out.

The early stages of gum disease (known as gingivitis) are characterized by tender, swollen, and reddened gum tissue. Your gums may also begin to bleed when you brush your teeth. If the gingivitis isn’t addressed or treated, it may eventually progress into periodontitis, which is a much more severe level of gum disease. This is when the teeth may begin to loosen or fall out.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Below are the simple steps to preventing gum disease:

  • At-Home Oral Hygiene – Brushing and flossing properly will eliminate the plaque from the mouth and gums. Flossing especially is a great way to prevent gum disease and the only way you can get rid of plaque buildup between the teeth.
  • Visiting the Dentist – Making sure to visit Meadows Family Dentistry every six months for a dental cleaning and exam will help to prevent gum disease or allow us to catch it in the early stages when it’s easier to treat.
  • Quitting Tobacco Products – Lastly, the use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco has been linked with a number of oral health problems, including gum disease. We recommend quitting the use of tobacco as soon as possible.

If you’re exhibiting any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to make an appointment here at Meadows Family Dentistry as quickly as possible. The earlier we can catch gum disease, the simpler it is to treat. To make an appointment, please contact our Castle Rock, Colorado dental office today.

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