Studies show an alarming trend – more an more adult Americans are living with some form of gum disease. Since many of them aren’t aware that they have the condition, that means they won’t be taking the steps to treat it before it develops into a greater issue. Your dentist in Columbus says one of the best ways to fight back is through education, so as you read on, you’ll learn about the three phases of gum disease and what you can do to prevent this issue.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that has its origin with bacteria. The latter are always present in the mouth, but when you eat food (especially any containing sugar), if there is lingering debris, the bacteria will flock to it, feed on it and multiply.
Over time, caustic fluids can be released as the bacteria digest the food particles. Without being adequately removed by practicing oral hygiene, these acids can seep beneath the gumline and lead to the first stage of gum disease.
Stage #1 – Gingivitis
Gingivitis involves the following symptoms:
- Redness in areas
- Easily bleeding gums
By visiting your dentist when you first notice any of the above symptoms, you can prevent permanent damage to your underlying bone and ligaments. In some cases, you’ll simply need to make adjustments to your oral hygiene routine.
Stage #2 – Periodontitis
Failure to treat gum disease early enough can lead to a more advanced form called periodontitis, which can result in permanent damage to the bone, fibers and ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
At this point, you may need to undergo a deep cleaning to remove the bacteria that have become trapped in pockets beneath your gums.
Stage #3 – Advanced Periodontitis
Bacteria won’t stop progressing on their own; they have to be treated in order to prevent them from causing further damage. So if allowed to continue growing, gum disease can progress to a more advanced stage where roots can be dissolved, which can result in tooth loss.
At this point, the only option may be for your dentist to perform a more invasive form of surgery to restore your gum health.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Now that you know how gum disease progresses if not treated, let us take a look at how to prevent the disease from arising. Here are some vital preventative measures to take:
- Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene – Brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis helps to clear away unwanted bacteria and to prevent the onset of gum disease.
- Make Healthier Food Selections – Another contributor to better oral health is to eat more whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Thus, there will be less sugar present for bacteria to feed on.
- Visit Your Dentist Semi-Annually – When you maintain six-month appointments with your dentist for cleanings and check-ups, you are taking a major step in preserving your oral health and preventing the bacteria accumulation that contributes to gum disease.
By applying what you’ve learned here and maintaining regular visits with your dentist, you can effectively keep gum disease in Columbus at bay and enjoy excellent oral health for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck helps patients avoid gum disease through preventive maintenance and education while also providing expert care to treat the condition if present. The Ohio State University College of Dentistry graduate practices at Creative Smiles, and he can be reached for more information through his website.