You might have heard a lot about how important it is to prevent gum disease. This condition endangers both your oral and overall health! However, not everyone understands exactly what gum disease is. They may not even know the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis, the two forms of gum disease. If you’ve ever been confused about these terms, take heart! Here is a quick lesson on what they mean.
Gingivitis — The First Stage of Gum Disease
Simply put, gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It’s basically just gum inflammation. Symptoms include swollen, tender gums and bleeding when you brush or floss. Gingivitis usually occurs because plaque builds up near the gum line and causes an infection in the area.
Gingivitis isn’t a serious condition, and it is usually fairly easy to reverse. You may just need to make some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. For example, you might need to start using an antibacterial mouth rinse, be more thorough when you’re brushing, and floss more often.
If you suspect you have gingivitis, it’s extremely important that you visit your dentist. They can give your mouth a thorough cleaning and provide you with personalized tips on how to take your oral hygiene routine to the next level. If you don’t visit your dentist to receive proper care and advice, you could end up in big trouble. Your gingivitis may advance to periodontitis.
Periodontitis — Advanced Gum Disease
If gingivitis progresses far enough, it becomes periodontitis, which is a huge threat to your oral and overall health. Symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, and bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Severe gum recession
- Bone loss around the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Not only can periodontitis wreck your smile, but it can also wreak havoc across the rest of your body. When the bacteria from the infection in your gums sneaks into your bloodstream, it may contribute to cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, respiratory infections, and preterm birth.
The proper treatment for periodontitis depend on the severity of the condition. In very bad cases, surgery may be necessary to clean out the infected area and reattach the gums to the teeth.
Preventing Gum Disease
According to a CDC study, almost half of Americans have some form of gum disease. If you don’t want to be in that unfortunate half, it’s important that you’re diligent about taking preventive measures. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are the key ingredients for healthy gums, so be sure you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, but be gentle. Aggressively brushing your teeth can cause gum recession.
- Floss daily. If you’re new to this habit, your gums might bleed a little at first. Only start to worry if the bleeding persists after the first week or so.
- Limit your sugar intake in order to minimize plaque buildup in your mouth.
- Get a professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.
Gum disease is no joke! Please take steps to protect your periodontal tissue so you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles.
About Darby Creek Dental
The three talented dentists in our office are passionate about protecting their patients’ oral health. If you would like advice on how to care for your gums and teeth, or if it’s time for a checkup, please contact us at 937-644-8822.