Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious oral health issue in which bacteria growth between and around the teeth and gum leads to inflammation and infection of the gum tissues. Over time, bacteria, food particles, and other substances can build up on your teeth and gums, forming plaque which hardens into tartar buildup. If it’s not removed, the bacteria grows, attacking healthy gum tissue and leading to swollen, painful gums and infection. In more severe cases, people may experience tooth decay and tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is a cause for concern in North Carolina, as nearly 50 percent of the adult population have had teeth extracted due to decay or gum disease. Because studies show that inflammation and bacteria from periodontal disease puts people at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and complications from chronic inflammation, oral health is crucial to living an overall healthy life. Fortunately, gum disease can be prevented in most cases through at home care, understanding your risk factors, and most importantly, visiting your dentist for regular checkups.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Most people only realize there is a problem when they’re experiencing severe dental pain. The symptoms of periodontal disease often appear long before that and include:
- Gums that recede away from the teeth or teeth that appear longer
- Redness at the gum line
- Bleeding gums
- Tenderness, swelling, or pain
- Loose teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your family dentist immediately. He or she can assess the situation and hopefully catch it early. If so, your dentist can save any teeth that may be at risk for extraction, while waiting too long can eliminate the option of less invasive procedures.
Practicing Preventative Dental Care
Good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease. Regular, thorough brushing in the morning, at night, and after meals remove surface plaque before it builds up, in addition to removing bacteria from around the tongue and palate, while daily flossing removes particles in between teeth that can lead to bacteria buildup and decay. Daily rinsing with mouthwash also helps kill off bacteria and removes hidden particles.
Visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and a professional cleaning will also keep your gums healthy and lessen your risk for periodontal disease. You can discuss your risk factors and get a comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) that looks at every aspect of your teeth, gums and bite to determine the health of your mouth. Plus, a professional cleaning will remove plaque that has hardened, called tartar buildup, and keep your teeth in a healthier condition.
Discuss Risk Factors with Your Dentist
While poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gum disease, there are several other factors that can put you at risk, including:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy)
- Compromised immune health
Smoking and diabetes are the two greatest risks of gum disease, impacting both the speed at which it develops and its severity. However, if you have a family history of oral health issues, struggle with stress, or have a compromised immune system, it’s important to bring them to your dentist’s attention, too.
Contact Hamby Family Dental Centers Today
If you’re in need of a dentist in Fuquay Varina to help you prevent or combat periodontal disease, reach out to Hamby Family Dental Center. With decades of experience, can help you and your family restore or maintain a healthy and beautiful smile! Contact us today by calling 919-552-2431 or filling out our convenient online appointment request form.