Many of us have been told from a young age to brush and floss every day, or else bad things would happen. What exactly are those bad things? Sure, bad breath and the ability for others to see what you had for dinner last week are side-effects desired by no one; however the real consequences can be much worse. Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease are two diagnoses that no one wants to hear. There are several ways to educate yourself in order to prevent these two nasty gum problems from being a part of your future.
First, let’s talk about gingivitis. This is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, causing your gums to inflame or swell. Gingivitis does not always cause pain and the early stages may go may go unnoticed. Therefore, if you are not actively trying to prevent or keep watch on it, you could all of a sudden go from a mild form of gum disease to something much worse: periodontitis.
What conditions does periodontitis create?
Gingivitis is a treatable oral health condition when caught in time. Periodontitis is irreversible and requires more complex dental plan. There are various symptoms of periodontitis, with some of the more severe signs being bleeding gums, loose teeth, or continuous bad breath (halitosis). Untreated bacteria and infection will continuously grow and work its way down into the gum affecting tooth roots and jaw bone health. When the supporting tissue weakens, teeth are adversely affected. Eventually, the tooth will give way and require extraction while the disease moves along the soft tissue to adjacent teeth. It is imperative to see a dentist before major damage begins.
Gingivitis can be prevented by brushing and flossing on a regular basis and visiting your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and exams. The routine exams help to eliminate tartar build-up along the gum line. If gingivitis is present, antibiotics may be prescribed along with a follow up visit and at-home dental care directions. Periodontitis, unfortunately, cannot be treated by antibiotics alone. Once that stage is reached, more heavy-duty procedures are going to be needed, such as scaling, root planing, or even bone grafting, depending on the severity of the disease.
The good news is that you can control whether plaque and tartar builds up on your teeth. Gingivitis can be prevented and stopped by you, therefore never allowing periodontitis to wreak havoc in your mouth. If you think you have any signs or symptoms or realize that you haven’t had a routine cleaning more than six months ago, contact Erbe Palafox, DDS today and schedule an exam. Dr. Palafox is dedicated to preventative dental treatment for a more complete oral health care system.