Gum disease is the soreness, swelling or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. Gum disease, or periodontal disease as it’s also called, is mainly caused by plaque – the sticky, colorless film that is always forming on the surface of the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed on plaque and produce toxic byproducts that erode the gums. There are some factors that can accelerate this erosion of the gums which includes:
- The use of tobacco products
- Puberty and pregnancy
- Some medications
- Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth
- Poor nutrition
- Certain systematic diseases
Gum Disease Can Cause Health Problems Beyond the Mouth
In recent studies, researchers have found that people with gum disease were more likely to develop other serious health problems, specifically heart disease. There are studies that suggest a direct link between periodontal disease and heart disease. This is why we stress education and regular hygiene visits to ensure our patient’s optimal oral and systemic health.
Preventing Gum Disease
The good news in all of this is that gum disease can be managed and treated. The first line of defense against gum disease is proper and regular brushing and flossing of the teeth. We encourage our patients to brush their teeth after every meal and to floss between teeth once each day. You should always keep up with your regularly scheduled dental exams as doing so will help your dentist catch gum disease in its early stages.
How to Tell if You Have Gum Disease
There are some telltale symptoms to watch for that could indicate that you are developing gum disease. If you notice any of these symptoms, we encourage you to contact our dental offices in Brandywine, Hockessin, Middletown, Newark, Wilmington, and Millsboro, DE right away so we can examine and provide you with treatment.
- Gums that bleed when brushing and flossing
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Pus forming between teeth and on the gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in how your partial dentures fit
- A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
We are always available to answer your questions so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about gum disease!