Woburn, MA dentist offers oral health tips for preventing gum disease and saving your smile
Gum disease is common and has the potential to be devastating. Nearly half of all adults over 30 have some type of gum disease. That number only continues to increase with age. The initial signs of gum disease are subtle and could be lurking beneath your otherwise beautiful smile. For patients near Woburn, MA, the team at Four Corners Dental Care offers tips on preventing gum disease and saving your smile.
Symptoms and stages of gum disease
Healthy gums are pink. They are the supportive tissues at the base of the teeth and should cover all the roots. If the gums become infected with bacteria, they may become red, swollen, or sensitive. Infected gums may also bleed easily. Periodontal disease starts out small and then becomes more destructive as it spreads. This disease can cause tooth loss.
Severe periodontal disease does not just appear overnight. The symptoms start and progress gradually. Gum disease begins when plaque builds up on the teeth. If plaque is not removed properly and in a timely manner, bacteria spread into the gums. If the bacteria are left untreated, dental issues may ensue, including tooth loss.
Gum disease progresses gradually through three stages ranging from mild to severe.
- Gingivitis – In the first and most common stage of gum disease, patients may experience red, sensitive gums. The gums may bleed during oral care. At this point, any damage can be treated and is reversible.
- Periodontitis – If gingivitis is unchecked, it can develop into periodontitis. The gums start to recede and pull away, causing spaces where bacteria can hide.
- Advanced periodontitis – As the most severe form of periodontal disease, damage has occurred to the teeth, bones, and gums. The teeth may begin to loosen and can fall out.
Oral health tips
Periodontal disease has the potential to be devastating, but it can be avoided. Preventing gum disease is the ideal form of treatment. Good oral health habits and regular visits to the dentist help keep the teeth and gums healthy. The following tips are important for preventing gum disease and saving your smile:
- Brush – In an ideal world, you would brush in the morning, at night, and after each meal. That routine is not always possible to maintain. At a minimum, brush in the morning and before bedtime for two minutes each. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Make sure you clean all surfaces of the teeth, front, back, and the chewing surfaces.
- Floss – Whether you use long strands of dental floss or the individual picks, floss your teeth daily. Flossing is crucial for removing plaque and particles that accumulate between the teeth. Gently slide the floss between the teeth and move it around the curves of the tooth. Do not force the floss as it could cut the sensitive gum tissue.
- Rinse – Using mouthwash or an oral irrigator, which helps get rid of unwanted particles in hard-to-reach areas that brushing and flossing may have missed.
- Replace – Over time and with use, the bristles on your toothbrush begin to break. Broken bristles cannot clean the teeth properly. Replace the toothbrush or the head every three to six months.
- Visit your dentist – Routine dental visits are crucial for overall oral health, but especially in preventing periodontal disease.
Regular dental appointments are precisely spaced and scheduled so potential problems do not have time to escalate. These examinations are important for dental health. Unless otherwise directed, these visits are scheduled every six months. If issues do crop up, they are usually small and easily treated. This is true with periodontal disease too. If signs of gum disease appear between six-month visits, the condition can be treated and possibly reversed before it worsens. Waiting longer between dental visits allows bacteria to get further into the gums to cause potential infections or issues.
If you notice that your gums are red or sensitive, contact your dental office right away. The earlier gum disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the outlook. Early diagnosis and treatment help prevent the disease from spreading and causing more damage. The exact treatment used may depend on the symptoms and the stage of gum disease.
To learn more about preventing gum disease and saving your smile, contact Four Corners Dental Care in Woburn, MA. Call (781) 315-4456.