We love sharing tips on how to better care for your teeth and gums so that you can prevent painful and inconvenient dental problems. As much as we enjoy seeing patients like you at the office, we don’t want you to have to go through treatments that can easily be prevented. There is one issue in particular that is common in half the adults in America. Would you like to know how to avoid it?

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, is often not diagnosed until it’s in the later stages because early symptoms are often overlooked and not very painful. You might notice bleeding when brushing and flossing, and tender, red gums. As the disease progresses, however, these symptoms intensify and can lead to recessed gums and tooth loss if left untreated.

The best way to prevent gum disease is simple — practice good oral hygiene. Otherwise, plaque, a form of harmful bacteria that irritates sensitive gum tissue, builds up on your teeth. This can progress to tartar, which is a hard bacteria substance that can only be removed at the dentist’s office. What happens if tartar goes untreated?

Periodontal Disease Sets In

If you or your dentist notice that your gums are red and swollen, or bleed when brushing and flossing, you could have the most common form of gum disease known as gingivitis. At this stage, gingivitis is easy to treat.

Periodontitis is a more severe form of periodontal disease that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. It damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth and can lead to tooth loss. At this stage, we must use a treatment called root scaling and planing to remove bacteria and help the gum heal. Scaling removes plaque and tartar from the visible portion of your teeth, while root planing smooths your tooth roots to prevent bacteria buildup.

Show your teeth and gums some love this month and help prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing daily to prevent plaque buildup. Try to brush for 2-3 minutes, too. It makes a difference. Keeping up with your regular dental checkups and cleanings will also help maintain healthy gums. It’s important not to skip those appointments. We look forward to seeing you soon!