According to the CDC, nearly half of all adults ages 30 and older show signs of gum disease. Of those, 9% show signs of serious gum disease. Even if you have a general idea of what gum disease is, being aware of what the different stages look and feel like can help you get the treatment you need sooner rather than later. Here are the phases of gum disease and what you can do to prevent them.
Gingivitis is a mild, early form of gum disease with symptoms such as gums that are red or bleed easily, chronic bad breath, teeth appearing longer than normal, swelling, and irritation. Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Since poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis, taking care of your teeth and gums can help prevent or reverse it.
Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease in which the gums may pull away from the teeth, bone loss may occur, and the teeth may become loose or fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth may begin to grow larger and collect debris which can lead to infection that can destroy bone and gum tissue. Symptoms of periodontitis include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, poor tooth alignment, loose teeth, pain when chewing, and receding gums.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Along with brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing once per day, and making regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups, other ways to prevent gum disease include:
- Eating a balanced diet that includes lean meats, fruits, calcium rich foods, and vegetables to fight plaque and protect tooth enamel
- Cutting back on alcohol consumption to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth
- Using antibacterial mouthwash to help kill bacteria in hard-to-reach places
- Cutting out cigarettes and other tobacco products which raise the chances of gum disease developing and can make treatment less effective
- Visiting the dentist more often if you have a chronic condition that puts you at higher risk for gum disease such as diabetes, HIV, or cancer
If your gums start to show any of the above signs, make sure to visit the dentist as soon as possible to stop gum disease in its tracks. With early detection, a good dental hygiene routine, and a balanced diet, you can keep your gums healthy and your smile bright!
About the Practice
Taking the time to find a dentist that meets the needs of you and your family can be a hassle. Look no further than Columbia Healthy Smiles! Dr. Philip A. Batson, Dr. Elizabeth Abe, and their talented Columbia team provide a wide range of comprehensive dental services to keep your smile happy and healthy. Rather than being just another name on a list, every patient is treated to the friendly, personalized, one-on-one care they deserve. Visit Columbia Healthy Smiles’ website or call their office at (573) 721-9039 for more information about gum disease and how you can prevent it.