Did you know that it’s not normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Many Americans assume that bleeding of the gums is normal, but it’s actually a sign of periodontal disease. Caused by bacteria in dental plaque, periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth. These structures include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. Periodontics is the dental specialty focusing exclusively in the inflammatory disease that destroys the gums and other supporting structures around the teeth.
What are the major risk factors of developing periodontal disease?
Smoking and tobacco use
Smokers face an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. The longevity and frequency of your smoking habits have an increased impact on your risk. Smoking creates more tartar on teeth, which can lead to the disease.
Crowded teeth, braces, or bridgework
Basically, anything that creates an obstacle for brushing or flossing your teeth allows more plaque to form. It’s not a helpless cause, though, and dentists are trained to help patients with all kinds of teeth find the most successful ways to brush and floss their teeth.
A common side effect of many medications includes dry mouth. When the mouth lacks saliva, plaque is more likely to form, which can lead to periodontal disease. Another issue some medications pose is enlarging the gums, thus allowing more plaque to be trapped. Read Gina G.‘s review of Dreamland Dental & Orthodontics on Yelp
How can I tell if I have periodontal disease?
While periodontal disease cannot be diagnosed without the help of your dentist, there are some warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to receive a diagnosis and explore treatment options. The symptoms are as follows:
Recurring bad breath
Red or swollen gums
Tender or bleeding gums
Your dentist will be able to further examine your mouth and check for signs of periodontal disease. The examination will likely include one or more of the following:
A probe, which is a tiny ruler, is used to check for pockets around the teeth. The depth of these pockets in a healthy mouth is generally between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test is usually painless.
An x-ray, which can determine if there is any bone loss.
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