The Truth About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, can become a serious dental problem. Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation of the tissues that support and surround your teeth and is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. Gum disease is very common, affecting up to 50% of the population at some point on their lives. There are different classifications of periodontal disease; the first stage is known as gingivitis, and is characterized by gums that may be red, swollen, or bleed easily. At this point, the gum disease is still reversible and can often be eliminated by brushing and flossing daily. However, if left untreated, gingivitis may lead to more serious forms of gum disease called periodontitis. At this more advanced stage, the gums and bones that support the teeth can become seriously damaged - the loss of bone around the teeth can cause them to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist. At Raleigh Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Williamson and his staff can help diagnose and determine the best course of action to correct the problem.
Factors and Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Some risk factors of developing gum disease:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- Diabetes or other systemic diseases
- Defective fillings
- Some types of medication like steroids, some anti-epilepsy drugs, or cancer therapy drugs
- Use of oral contraceptives or pregnancy
While these factors may increase one's risk of developing periodontal disease, problems can be prevented. The best defense against periodontal disease is to take good care of your teeth every day and to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. And because periodontal disease is often painless, people don't always know that they have it. The following warning signs are meant to signal the possible development of periodontal disease:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth that doesn't go away
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
At Raleigh Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Williamson is fully aware and educated about periodontal disease and can be on the lookout for early signs of the disease, remove plaque and tartar from the teeth if necessary, and advise his patients on a course of treatment if the disease is detected.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
The most important defenses against periodontal disease are to brush, floss, and visit your dentist. Brushing should be twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush in good condition. Flossing should be done at least once a day, because floss removes particles near the gum line where a brush often can't reach. Eating a balanced diet is also important - a variety of foods is not only good for your body and health, but also good for your teeth. And above all, visit your dentist regularly. A yearly check-up is important to catch any potential problems before they escalate, and a dentist can offer a more professional, thorough cleaning than you can give yourself at home. Call Raleigh Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule your appointment.