Healthy gums are generally pink and anchor the teeth firmly in place. Healthy gums do not bleed or hurt during normal brushing and flossing.
Early forms of gum disease can easily be treated and reversed with daily brushing and flossing and dental checkups every 6 months. Chris T. Nhan, DDS can get you on your way to healthy gums. All you need to do is call 916-965-7188 or request an appointment online and come in for a visit. Your gums will be glad you did!
Gum disease is ultimately an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque and bacteria at the gumline.
As you eat throughout your day, a layer of sticky food particles tend to build up at the base of teeth just above the gumlines. This sticky layer of buildup is what is commonly known as plaque. Brushing and flossing twice a day is usually good enough to effectively remove plaque from on and between your teeth. Click here to see other helpful oral hygiene tips.
If plaque is allowed to sit at the gumline due to not brushing and flossing correctly or at all it will start to harden into tartar. This hard, color-less tartar uses the sugars left on teeth from foods and drinks to produce bacteria at the gumline. Tartar is not removable during normal brushing and flossing. We can successfully remove tartar during a routine dental checkup so it is important that you request an appointment and come in for regular dental cleanings.
The bacteria produced from plaque and tartar works its way beneath the gums which causes inflammation and could cause some discomfort. Red/inflamed gums are the beginning signs of gingivitis. This bacteria can often be stopped but as long as tartar remains in your mouth, it will continue to produce harmful bacteria and gum disease will continue to get worse.
There are other factors that can contribute to gum disease in addition to plaque and bad oral hygiene. These include:
- Increased gum sensitivity due to pregnancy can lead to inadequate brushing and flossing thus helping the formation of gum disease.
- Some medications can decrease the production of saliva. Saliva is your mouths protection throughout the day and created a barrier between food particles and your teeth and gums. Chewing gum can promote an increase in saliva production.
- Smoking makes it harder for gum tissues to heal when trying to fight gum disease and can actually help gum disease advance.
It is important to be aware of your current gum disease situation. Gum disease can be broken down into three different stages and knowing which one your gums fall in can help determine proper treatment. The stages are:
This is the earliest stage of gum disease and is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gumline. If plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth and gums, it reacts with the sugars in foods and drinks and produces bacteria that starts to infect the soft gum tissues. You may notice your gums bleed and even experience some discomfort when brushing and flossing. Damage caused by gingivitis is reversible since the infection has not affected the connective tissues that hold teeth in place and has not yet reached the surrounding bone.
This stage of gum disease is when the bacteria has become so severe it has worked its way to the connective tissues to the teeth and have started to cause gums to recede. Gums appear red and swollen and are also painful and generally bleed when brushing and flossing. The damage to the connective tissues is not reversible at this point but proper brushing and flossing as well as dental exams can help prevent further damage.
This is the final stage of gum disease. The connective tissues that hold the teeth into place as well as surrounding bone have been destroyed and is completely irreversible without extensive treatment. Teeth can often shift and can become loose which can affect your overall bite, speech and appearance. Put bluntly, your teeth may need to be completely removed if advanced periodontitis is left untreated.
If you think you may have any form of gum disease, CALL US IMMEDIATELY at 916-965-7188 or request an appointment to come in and be properly evaluated. It might just mean saving your teeth and avoiding other serious health issues associated with gum disease.
As gum disease progresses, the bacteria beneath the gum line cause the gum tissues to start separating from the teeth. This eventually will allow to exposed tooth roots which can be extremely sensitive and painful when eating, drinking and brushing. Suppress the urge to avoid cleaning teeth that are sensitive to cold! Teeth that have suffered damage from gum disease will always be more sensitive to cold. Not properly cleaning them only makes it worse.
If your teeth are especially sensitive call us at 916-965-7188 or request and appointment immediately. This could be a sign of early stages of more severe issues caused by gum disease.
Studies have shown links between periodontal (gum) disease, heart disease and other health conditions. Research further suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than hypertension, smoking, cholesterol, gender and ages. Researchers conclusions suggest that bacteria present in infected gums can become loose and move throughout the body through the bloodstream. Once bacteria reach the arteries, they can irritate them in the same way that they irritate gum tissue causing arterial plaque, which can cause hardening and affect blood-flow.
The best treatment of gum disease is through prevention. Brushing, flossing and regular dental exams are the best way to prevent gum disease from occurring. If you are currently (or think you are currently) experiencing some form of gum disease there is still hope. Depending on which stage of gum disease you are suffering from will also determine the best form of treatment.
Gingivitis is completely treatable from normal brushing and flossing and coming in for a dental checkup. Damage caused to gum tissues from gingivitis is also completely reversible.
Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis require a more invasive approach to treatment. A deep cleaning will generally need to be performed first which will remove any current tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth above and below the gumline. In severe cases, you may be required to see a specialist who focuses entirely on surgically treating advanced forms of gum disease.