You’ve probably heard that having healthy teeth is important, but did you know that having healthy gums is just as crucial? That’s because your gums support your teeth and keep your smile intact. If the health of your gums is compromised by something like gum disease in Hackettstown, it can destroy your smile. That’s why it’s important to be educated about gum disease. Continue reading to learn about its three stages and how you can prevent it in the first place.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
If your gums are tender, red, or puffy, you might have gingivitis. During this first stage of periodontal (gum) disease, your gums become inflamed as an immune response to irritants on the teeth. If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing every day, it will accumulate near the gumline. Bacteria in plaque will then result in bad breath and inflamed, bleeding gums. The good news is that at this stage, gum disease can usually be reversed with a professional dental cleaning and an improved oral hygiene regimen.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
If gingivitis isn’t dealt with, it progresses into periodontitis. This occurs when bacteria in plaque seep beneath the gums, resulting in an infection in the underlying bone. The infection can erode the jawbone and create pockets between the gums and the teeth. Unfortunately, your toothbrush and floss can’t reach these pockets. The only way to treat periodontitis is with what’s called a dental deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing.
During this procedure, your dentist will use an ultrasonic cleaning instrument to remove plaque and its hardened form, tartar, from below the gumline. Then, they’ll smooth the rough edges of your tooth roots to prevent bacteria from reattaching to them.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
At this stage, the pockets around the teeth have become so deep that your teeth have become loose. If you put off treatment for long enough, they may even fall out. This stage of gum disease is associated with an increased risk for other health issues, like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and birth complications in pregnant women. Surgical treatment, usually involving laser technology, is required to treat advanced periodontitis.
How You Can Prevent Gum Disease
The best cure for gum disease is prevention. Keep the condition at bay by following these steps:
- Gently brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day for two minutes at a time.
- Floss at least once a day, ideally right before bedtime.
- If you smoke, consider quitting.
- Keep consumption of sugary foods and drinks to a minimum.
- Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
If you keep these tips in mind, you can prevent from developing any stage of gum disease and keep your smile shining brightly for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Ari Kakkar practiced dentistry in India before moving to the United States and attaining his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University. He thoroughly enjoys all aspects of dentistry and has taken hundreds of continuing education hours in order to stay abreast of the latest techniques and technologies that modern dentistry has to offer. His practice offers several different methods of treating gum disease in Hackettstown, NJ. To learn more, contact Dr. Kakkar at (908) 850-0005.