What is Gum Disease
If your gums are swollen and bleeding, you may be suffering from gum disease. This condition is something of a misnomer, however. Gum disease, officially known as gingivitis (in its early stages), is an infection caused by bacteria in the mouth. Being a bacterial infection, gum disease is generally treatable. Moreover, with a little care, it is usually preventable. Let’s start from the top, though: what is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that occurs when bacterial buildup within the mouth grows robust enough to expand into the gum tissue or between the gums and the teeth. Often, this happens along with the transition of plaque into tartar.
When bacteria flourish on our teeth and gums, they form into colonies that we call plaque—that sticky white film that builds on your teeth in-between brushings. If the plaque is allowed to linger without being brushed away, then it will harden into tartar. No amount of at-home brushing will remove tartar. Once your teeth get to this point, the aid of a dentist becomes necessary to remove the bacteria. A big part of every Tulsa teeth cleaning is making sure that your teeth are free of tartar.
The early stages of gum disease are called gingivitis. Slight swelling of the gums, redness of tissue, and light bleeding from the gums can all be signs of gingivitis. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. As the plaque continues to harden into tartar during the gingivitis stage, the swelling of your gums creates pockets around the base of your teeth. Once tartar develops within these pockets, you have a solidified colony of bacteria living below your gumline. While gingivitis can be mild, periodontitis is dangerous and can cause extensive damage to the gum tissue and the jawbone. If you think you are developing periodontitis, it is imperative to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Below is a more exhaustive list of symptoms. These symptoms can be present in either gingivitis or periodontitis but tend to display with much greater severity in cases of the latter.
Swollen red gums Gums peeling away from teeth
Tender gums Persistent bad breath
Bleeding gums Pus between the teeth
Loosening teeth Foul taste in the mouth
In most cases, preventing gum disease can be as easy as taking proper care of your teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing between your teeth once a day, and going in for a Tulsa teeth cleaning twice a year. Do these things, and you will most likely avoid the dangerous and costly experience of gum disease.
Some lifestyle choices play a role in the development of gum disease. Anything that damages your teeth, wearing away or weakening the enamel, can increase your odds of getting gum disease. For instance: things like drinking acidic beverages, smoking, consuming lots of sugar, or allowing sugar to sit on the teeth for prolonged periods. All of these activities can be detrimental for the well-being of your teeth and leave them open to a greater risk of infection.
With modern tools and resources, you can keep gum disease from being a threat; take care of your teeth at home and come in for a Tulsa teeth cleaning. Schedule an appointment with Tulsa Modern Dental today and let us help you to keep your teeth tartar-free.