Gum disease or periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss. This disease attacks the gums as well as the bone, which are the foundations in which your teeth rest. Gum disease causes the bone to dissolve away from your teeth, loosening them and causing them to fall out. Anyone at any age is susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque.
Aside from plaque build-up, genetics, nutrition and smoking habits can contribute to gum irritation and gum disease.
- Some early warning signs include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen, puffy or tender gums
- Gums that have receded from the teeth
- Chronic halitosis, or bad breath
- Any change in the way your partial dentures fit
- Loose or separating teeth
In the early stages, root planing is necessary. This is more aggressive than a normal tooth cleaning, and often requires numbing the area. During this procedure, the root surfaces are literally planed. This removes hard deposits and the bacteria they harbor, creates a smooth root surface that is easier to keep clean, and reduces infection because bacteria cannot reattach to the smooth surface as easily.
Brush twice a day for at least 3 minutes each time and floss daily. If you’re not sure whether you’re brushing or flossing properly, Dr. Geare or dental hygienist can show you how. Other preventive tips:
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Use a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles, and replace it every 3 to 4 months
- Avoid sugary and starchy snacks
- Avoid use of cigarettes or chewing tobacco, which irritate gums
- Visit Dr. Geare at least twice a year